The first human case of West Nile virus in Evanston this year was reported Friday by the city’s Health and Human Service Department. It is one of 57 cases reported so far in Illinois.

The first Evanston mosquito batch that tested positive for West Nile virus this year was collected on July 1.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever and headache. More severe cases can be associated with a high fever with head and body aches and disorientation, convulsions and tremors, and even paralysis and death.

Symptoms can appear three to 14 days after infection and may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, many people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. People older than age 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

“Residents need to be cognizant that West Nile virus prevention does not stop with the adult mosquito operations performed by the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District,” said Evanston Health and Human Services Department Director Evonda Thomas-Smith.

She said that the best way to prevent West Nile virus or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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