Hot weather drives up West Nile count
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News September 25, 2012 11:44AM
Updated: October 27, 2012 6:09AM
July 2012 was the second hottest July on record. The summer was the third driest in Illinois history. These factors added up to the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes — and West Nile virus.
There have three human cases of West Nile virus in Kane County this year, including a 64-year-old Elgin man who died from complications of the virus in mid-August.
The DuPage County Health Department announced this week that the mosquito-borne infection had sickened 25 residents — 20 percent of the statewide count — and caused the death of a third person in the county.
On Tuesday, Kane County Assistant Director for Environmental Health Julie Wiegel spoke to the County Board Public Health Committee Tuesday about the virus.
The West Nile season typically lasts from mid-May until the first hard frost of the fall.
The type of mosquito that carries the virus typically thrives on drier weather, and stagnant pools of water, Wiegel said.
The numbers of cases nationwide had taken a dive from 2009-2011. But this year there have been 118 deaths nationwide, the highest number since 2007.
“The cases across the country are really rising this year,” said interim Health Department Director Barb Jeffers.
Up to 80 percent of contracted cases are asymptomatic, meaning people may not even know that they have the disease, Wiegel said. About 20 percent contract West Nile fever, she said.