Two DuPage County residents recently died of West Nile virus, marking the first two deaths from the virus in the county in 2023, officials said.
According to the DuPage County Health Department, an Addison resident in their 70s and a West Chicago resident in their 60s who both became ill with the virus in late August have died.
There have been six cases of the virus in DuPage County in 2023, according to officials.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, though only around one in five of those infected will show symptoms.
Common symptoms developed by infected patients include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rashes.
Serious neurologic illnesses such as encephalitis or meningitis are developed in less than 1% of infected patients, health officials said.
According to health officials, individuals over the age of 60 and those with health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and organ transplants are at greater risk for serious illness from the virus.
Anyone who experiences symptoms should contact their local health department.
According to the DCHD, the best way to prevent WNV is to avoid mosquito bites and follow 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.
More information on the county’s current West Nile activity can be found here.