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Illinois Reports Second Human Case of West Nile Virus

The state public health director reported the second known human case of West Nile virus in Illinois on Thursday.

Dr. John Lumpkin said the victim, a 57-year-old man from Madison County in southwest Illinois, became critically ill with encephalitis in July and spent two weeks in intensive care but is now showing signs of improvement.

Lumpkin said tests by the health department were positive for West Nile virus and he was awaiting further confirmation from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He said the man fell ill in mid-July and was admitted to a hospital intensive care unit about a week later with fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion and agitation.

Lumpkin also announced that the mosquito-borne virus has been found in five more Illinois counties -- Iroquois, Jersey, Logan, Macon and Richland -- bringing the total to 53 counties.

Lumpkin announced Tuesday that a 22-year-old student from Maryland had become the state's first human case of the virus. She reported only minor symptoms -- fever, achy muscles and a slight rash -- and has recovered.

The student spent eight weeks in Illinois, living in Hoffman Estates in suburban Cook County and working in DuPage County for the summer. Officials are certain she contracted it in Illinois because she lived here during the disease's incubation period.

Most people infected with the virus show no symptoms, but some become ill three days to two weeks after a bite from an infected mosquito. Symptoms can range from mild and flu-like to encephalitis, or swelling of the brain. Five people in Louisian have died of the virus this summer.

The CDC has reported 112 human cases in 2002, more than half in the past week.

Since 1999, the virus has been found in birds and people in 34 states and Washington, and health officials expect it will continue spreading west.

Health officials urge spraying for mosquitoes when the virus has been detected and say people should eliminate standing water from their lawns to reduce their risk. Wearing insect repellent and long pants and shirts are also recommended.