First West Nile virus death reported in DuPage County

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A senior citizen in DuPage County has diedfrom a West Nile infection, marking the west suburban area’sfirst fatality from the virusin 2018.

The resident, who was over 65 years old, was infected by the virusearly September before succumbing to the disease, the DuPage County Health Department said in a Friday statement.

The DuPage County coroner’s office did not immediately confirm the fatality.

Fourteen cases of West Nile virus infections have been reported this year, the health department said. The county remains a “Level 3” risk status for the disease — the highest on a0 to 3 scale, indicating excess quantitiesof mosquitoes carrying the virus in most areas.

Most infected humans do not develop symptoms, the health department said. But one in five sufferfevers, headaches, body aches, joint pains, rashes, diarrhea and vomiting.

A small portion of infected people — less than 1 percent — exhibit serious neurologic ailments that include inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues, the health department said. Elderly people are at greaterrisk of dying or falling into a coma as a result.

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