WestNile-infected mosquitoes found in Wilmette
North Shore Mosquito Abatement District's Christopher Xamplas, a mosquito ecologist, tracks and tests the areas mosquitos for West Nile virus and other diseases | Alyssa Schueneman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:19AM
WILMETTE — West Nile Virus season is back in Wilmette, and this year it’s early.
Village Manager Tim Frenzer said investigators from the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District found evidence of the virus in mosquitoes June 26 in the village.
The news comes two months earlier than it did in 2011. Last year, the first virus-infected mosquitoes turned up in an Aug. 8 abatement district collection.
Frenzer urged residents to take proper precautions to avoid mosquito bites, and to eliminate standing pools of water around their homes that could provide breeding grounds for the insects: “People should avoid outdoor activity during dawn or dusk hours, should wear loose light-colored clothing and wear insect repellant.”
Health authorities advise using repellents with the chemicals DEET or Picaridin, or repellants that use oil of lemon eucalyptus, all of which are approved for use by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
To eliminate potential breeding grounds, people should empty or cover children’s pools, flower pots or pet bowls and make sure tire swings do not have water in them. Keeping grass cut short and cleaning gutters to eliminate debris also helps.
West Nile Virus is seasonal, usually flaring up in summer and late fall. Culex mosquitoes that contract it from feeding off infected birds then pass it on to other animals and humans.
While many infected people show no symptoms and don’t become ill, others can become sick three to 15 days after being bitten, experiencing fever, headache or body aches. Severe cases can result in stiff neck, confusion, muscle weakness and even death. People over 50 are more apt to be seriously affected.
This is the eleventh straight summer during which investigators have found virus-infected mosquitoes in the village. Wilmette has shown evidence of positive findings every year since 2002.
Mosquito populations in the area rocketed last summer, especially after a series of storms and subsequent flooding created a fertile environment in which they could hatch. However, most of the mosquitoes that bedeviled residents were non-virus caryying floodwater mosquitoes.
For more information, visit the North Shore Mosquito Abatement site at www.nsmad.com or the Illinois Department of Public Health site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm, or call the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District at 847-446-9434.