Volume 72, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


In 2002, the world’s largest outbreak of neuroinvasive West Nile virus (WNV) disease occurred. Illinois reported 21% of the total cases in the United States, the most among all states. The epidemiology of WNV in Illinois in 2002 was examined to determine factors associated with severe disease and death. A total of 884 cases were identified and there were 66 deaths. The overall attack rate of WNV infection was 7.1 per 100,000 population and this increased with age. The median ages of patients and patients who died were 56 and 78 years, respectively. Among patients who died, 91% were diagnosed with encephalitis and the case-fatality rate for patients with encephalitis was 18.6%. Patients more than 50 years old had a significantly higher risk of being reported with encephalitis (relative risk [RR] = 3.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.6–4.3%) and death (RR = 22.3, 95% CI = 5.5–90.4%). Clinicians evaluating elderly patients with WNV infection should assess patients closely for progression of disease.


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  • Received : 01 May 2004
  • Accepted : 07 Oct 2004

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