Two More West Nile Deaths in Ill.
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois’ death toll from the West Nile virus has doubled to four, state health officials said, the latest indication that the mosquito-borne virus, focused on the South, is increasingly infecting people farther north.
Nationally, 21 deaths from West Nile have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not including the Illinois cases.
The latest Illinois fatalities were an 83-year-old man from Chicago, who died Aug. 21, and a 92-year-old woman from the suburbs north of the city who died Saturday.
Both had West Nile encephalitis _ an inflammation of the brain _ and the man also had other conditions that may have contributed to his death, the Illinois Department of Public Health said Tuesday.
So far this year, the CDC in Atlanta said 453 human cases of West Nile have been reported in the country’s worst outbreak since the virus first was detected here in 1999. Seven people died in New York that year, and the virus has since been found in animals or humans in 41 states.
People have been diagnosed with West Nile in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
The virus has been reported from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, but it has done most of its damage this year in the South _ especially Louisiana, with 171 human cases and eight deaths. Louisiana officials said last week they believed the number of new cases there was decreasing, while northern states have seen their numbers increase.
On the Net:
CDC West Nile Virus: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/surv&control.htm