WIUM Tristates Public Radio

West Nile Season Approaches

May 19, 2014

As summer approaches, local health departments are on the lookout for West Nile. They are targeting mosquitoes the main carrier of the deadly virus.

The McDonough County Health Department is setting up a surveillance system to monitor for early signs of West Nile Virus.

The Department’s Lynette Cale, Public Health Administrator, says they also distribute larvicide- an insecticide specific to mosquitoes.

“We also set out traps to collect mosquitoes to test for West Nile, that’s the first indicator of West Nile in the county, and then we also collect birds throughout the season, and we can have those tested to see if the birds are carriers of it as well,” said Cale.

In hot, dry weather, mosquitoes that carry the virus breed in stagnant water. Roadside ditches, flooded yards, and even a child’s pool can attract the mosquitoes.

Areas where West Nile Virus is most prevalent.
Credit www.cdc.gov

West Nile was first reported in Illinois in 2001. Last year, there were 117 cases of the virus. Though not found near McDonough County, Cale still urges community members to take precautions.

The health department says to reduce exposure, repel by using insect repellent, and report any dead birds or areas of stagnant water.