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Saturday, September 14, 2002

West Nile

Being bitten by mosquitos has always been just an annoying little part of summertime — at least here in the Midwest. Now, avoiding getting bitten by mosquitos is becoming a way of life. Interesting, though, this is probably the first summer in my entire life that I haven't been bitten.

SJR: West Nile claims two more Illinoisans - Experts puzzled by high numbers of illness in state

Illinois' death toll from the West Nile virus keeps climbing, with health officials announcing two more fatalities Friday for a total of 16.

The latest victims were an 86-year-old woman from northern Cook County, who died Sept. 5, and a 68-year-old man from Macon County, who died Monday. Their names were not released.

They were among 12 new cases of West Nile illness in the state, giving Illinois a total of 358.

West Nile has hit Illinois harder than any other state. Louisiana is next, with 11 deaths and 238 illnesses from West Nile.

Experts don't know why the disease is taking such a toll on Illinois, said Tom Schafer, spokesman for the Public Health Department.

Well, one good thing, autumn is nearly here and that means that the first hard frost is right around the corner. Hopefully, that'll kill the mosquitos.

Ahh, dang! Spoke too soon.

SJR: Cold war against mosquitoes - Some can survive frost, Illinois winter

"Adult culex mosquitoes (common mosquitoes) can actually survive the winter," said Tammy Leonard, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, which suddenly finds itself educating the public about mosquitoes and health.

In late September, culex mosquitoes start looking for places to stay over the winter. When the temperatures drop, they slow down and barely fly. But they can survive, and the virus can survive with them.

Totally unrelated: Wow! They're actually playing the theme from the Rockford Files on the radio right now. Oops. Sorry.

Posted by Marie at September 14, 2002 9:37 PM