By Joseph Ruzich
Special to the Tribune
7:18 AM CDT, September 17, 2013
A 67-year-old Cicero man is the first person to die from the West Nile virus in the Chicago area this year, Cook County Department of Public Health officials said Monday.
The county health department said the man recently died after contracting the mosquito-borne disease while suffering from multiple other underlying health conditions.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said it was the second death in the state this year, after a person living in downstate Logan County died of the virus last week.
"We are very saddened and express our condolences to the family," said Cicero Town President Larry Dominick in a statement. "I am urging everyone to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and to also monitor elderly relatives and residents, especially those who live by themselves, for symptoms."
The state health department reports that West Nile virus-positive birds, mosquitoes and/or human cases have been reported in 59 counties this year. The first human case this year, a woman in her 50s, was reported on Aug. 21 in McHenry County.
Last year saw the second highest number of West Nile virus human cases in state history, according to state health officials, with 290 residents contracting the virus and 12 deaths. So far this year, only 10 human cases have been reported.
The health department reminds people to wear insect repellent when they go outdoors, especially between dusk and dawn. People should also eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed and contact local municipal governments to report dead birds and areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, yards and other locations that may produce mosquitoes.
More information on the West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health website at idph.state.il.us/.
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