SPRINGFIELD – Six people have died of West Nile virus in Illinois as the number of human cases continues to climb.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking cases of the mosquito-borne disease and updated its count Wednesday. The agency said the virus has sickened 179 people in Illinois this year.
In contrast, Illinois saw 34 cases last year when three people died.
This year's mild winter, early spring and very hot summer created excellent breeding conditions for the mosquito that carries West Nile. Federal health officials have said that infections are expected to continue into October, although the height of mosquito season has passed.
Most people infected with West Nile won't get sick, but about one in 150 will develop the severe form of the illness.