Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton has West Nile virus

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Another suburban public official has tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The 60-year-old Sexton said in a statement he hopes to return to village board meetings as soon as possible. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Sexton's diagnosis comes just days after Lombard Village President William Mueller died from complications caused by West Nile virus.

The West Nile virus is becoming a growing problem in the Chicago area.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says the virus is widespread all over Illinois. It has expanded to a number of communities and counties in the state.

Weather conditions have benefitted the mosquito population: More mosquitoes means a greater potential of being infected.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting the first West Nile virus related death in Illinois for 2012: 70-year-old Lombard Village President William Mueller died last weekend from complications caused by West Nile virus. He was also fighting bone marrow cancer.

"We are, in fact, seeing more cases and more counties involved this year than last year at this time," said Illinois Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. "We had our first death, as you know, recently, and we're up to 26 human cases."

Evergreen Park Sexton, 60 sent a letter to his community, stating, "Each day I feel stronger and anticipate a full recovery. I would like to remind everyone to be vigilant of this disease."

West Nile virus is transmitted by a bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

Dr. Hasbrouck says people need to reduce their exposure.

"One out of 200 mosquitos may have been infected by the virus," said Hasbrouck. "You just want to avoid mosquitos altogether."

George Balis of Clark Mosquito Company recommends using repellents from dusk to dawn.

"Those under the age of two should be utilizing DEET," said Balis. "During the evening hours, if you wear long sleeves or pants, or wear repellents, you can reduce exposure."

The virus includes symptoms of fever, nausea, headaches and muscle aches.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says that everyone is at risk of being infected. However, if you are over 50 years old, you face greater complications.

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