DUPAGE COUNTY, Ill. — DuPage County’s health department on Tuesday confirmed its first two human West Nile virus-related deaths.

County health officials said an Addison resident in their 70s and a West Chicago resident in their 60s both became ill in late August and later died, marking the first casualties linked to the illness this year.

Year-to-date, DuPage County health officials state six human cases have been reported.

“We are saddened to report the first two deaths from West Nile virus in DuPage County for 2023,” said Adam Forker, Executive Director, DuPage County Health Department. “Please make sure to protect yourself and loved ones from mosquito bites and reduce your exposure.”

Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Officials add that less than 1% of patients will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis.

People over the age of 60 and those who have serious health ailments – cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and organ transplants – are at higher risk of contracting the illness.

DuPage County health officials reminded locals about the four Ds of defense.

  • Drain: Drain those items that collect standing water around your home, yard, or business. Scrub and refill pet water dishes and bird baths regularly.
  • Defend: Use an insect repellant containing DEET when outdoors and reapply according to directions.
  • Dress: Wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed-toe shoes when outside to cover the skin.
  • Dusk to dawn: Wear repellant outdoors during these prime times for mosquito activity.

In late August, suburban Cook County resident in their 90s was the first human in the state to die from the West Nile virus in 2023, according to a report from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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