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Will County man is state’s first human case of West Nile virus

An aedes aegypti mosquito is shown on human skin. | U.S. Department of Agriculture photo via AP

The first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Illinois in 2017 is a Will County man in his 60s.

“This is typically the time of year we start to see human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois,” state Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah said in a statement.

The southwest suburban man became ill at the end of June.

Last year, the state’s first human case of West Nile came earlier, confirmed on June 6, IDPH said.  Overall, there were reported 155 human cases, including six deaths. IDPH says however, taat human cases are often under-reporterd. Last year, 61 counties in Illinois reported a positive mosquito batch, bird and/or human case.

And while heavy flooding in the north and northwest suburban is expected to produce a bumper crop of mosquitoes in the coming days, they will not be West Nile carriers, at least not at first.

“Although the flooding in northeastern Illinois may be producing a large number of floodwater mosquitoes, those mosquitoes do not carry West Nile virus,” Shah said. ” However, the hot, dry conditions we’ve been seeing around the rest of Illinois, which leave small, stagnant pockets of standing water, create ideal breeding sites for the type of mosquito that does carry West Nile virus.”

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex pipiens, or house mosquito.  Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.