West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes continues to increase in Illinois, causing mosquito control workers concern about human infections, even though none have been reported in Illinois this year, according to a press release from the .
According to an interactive map displaying incidents of positive and negative findngs of West Nile Virus in the area, the virus was found in some mosquitoes last week.
The Health Department finding the first mosquitoes carrying the virus, the finding came earlier than in the previous year. The warm weather earlier in the year was attributed as one reason for the early finding.
Low rainfall in the Wheaton Mosquito Abatement District prevented the large populations of floodwater nuisance mosquitoes that typically visit every spring from appearing. However, the less annoying, disease-causing Culex mosquitoes have made an early visit. These mosquitoes breed in storm drains, ditches, trash cans and any container that holds stagnant water. They thrive in hot, dry weather like we have been experiencing, according to the city's release.
Since these mosquitoes are less noticeable, people often think there is no reason to be concerned about mosquitoes, but there is. The DuPage County Health Department reports that 89 of the 464 pools of mosquitoes they tested this year have been positive for West Nile virus. At this time last year, only one West Nile virus positive sample was reported.
On Wednesday, July 25, Clarke Mosquito Control (the contractor providing mosquito control service this year) will conduct a spray treatment of the Wheaton, West Chicago and Glen Ellyn Mosquito Abatement Districts to reduce the number of adult mosquitoes in the area. Applications are typically made from dusk until 2 a.m. In case of rain or other unacceptable weather condition, the treatment will be rescheduled.
The presence of infected mosquitoes in our environment means that people need to remain cautious about mosquitoes and continue to “Fight the Bite,” even though the pesky critters might not be chasing us indoors. You can help prevent West Nile disease and other mosquito-borne illness by reducing the number of mosquitoes around your home and by taking personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Things you can do include:
- Check your property and remove all standing water. Even the smallest containers can breed hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes (buckets, bottles, cans, trash can lids, flower pots). If you can’t remove these containers, at least empty them weekly.
- Avoid outdoor activity when mosquitoes are present and active – especially dawn and dusk. If you are out when mosquitoes are present, wear protective clothing such as light-colored long-sleeved shirt and pants
- Use insect repellants to discourage mosquitoes from landing and biting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides current information on mosquito repellants.
Call Clarke’s mosquito hotline at 800-942-2555 to report mosquito problems.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website. Information on the DuPage County Health Department’s testing of mosquitoes for West Nile virus can be found on their website.