Although levels of West Nile Virus (WNV) within the mosquito population are still low as of July 8, conditions are ideal for the increased production of the mosquito species involved in WNV transmission and the subsequent WNV amplification cycle within the adult mosquito population. Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District mosquito larval control operations are aggressively inspecting/treating potential breeding sources to minimize adult mosquito development. The District encourages residents to look for potential mosquito breeding sources on their properties. Anything that holds water can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in Illinois for 2020 on June 5 in Evanston and DVMAD collected a positive mosquito batch on May 31 in River Forest. No human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in our area so far this year.
The Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District encourages everyone to take the following steps:
1) Throw away all trash that can hold water as cans, jars, bottles, etc.
2) Clean rain gutters/downspouts to prevent water from standing in gutters or on flat roofs.
3) Change water in bird baths, wading pools, etc. at least once a week.
4) Maintain swimming pools properly.
5) Remove or turn over containers, buckets, wheel barrows, etc. which may accumulate water.
6) Screen rain barrels to prevent adult mosquitoes from depositing eggs on the water’s surface.
7) Aerate ornamental ponds and stock with goldfish or other surface-feeding fish to control mosquito production.
8) Dispose of any used tires without rims to prevent water accumulation.
The species of mosquito involved in WNV transmission is a passive mosquito, and not an aggressive biter with its presence often undetected. Residents are encouraged to use a common-sense approach in avoiding exposure to adult mosquitoes and any potential mosquito-borne diseases. If possible, avoid outdoor activities around dusk. If not possible, wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Loose fitting, light colored clothing is best. Appropriate use of insect repellents per manufacturer’s instructions is recommended to minimize mosquito bites.
Window screens should be inspected and repaired if damaged to prevent mosquitoes from entering the home. In addition, any openings around window air conditioners, clothes dryer vents, etc. should be eliminated for the same reason.
The District actively monitors adult mosquito populations for the presence and level of WNV. This season, the District is moving to the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) platform for testing mosquito samples for WNV. PCR testing provides a greater sensitivity in detecting virus presence, and will give earlier indication of WNV amplification within the vector mosquito population.