Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District: West Nile Virus Cases on the Increase
Our hot and dry climatic conditions have been ideal for the development of disease vector mosquitoes, primarily Culex pipiens. This mosquito is the main vector of West Nile Virus (WNV) in our area. The adult mosquito is not an aggressive biter, and its presence is typically not noticed by the public. Our District monitors WNV levels within the adult mosquito population through the use of gravid traps, which are highly selective in attracting mosquitoes which have had at least one blood meal and potential exposure to WNV. Adult mosquitoes collected are tested in-house with the Rapid Analytic Measurement Platform (RAMP) system for WNV presence. RAMP tests have shown a significant amplification of WNV to levels where human transmission is likely.
Residents are encouraged to use a common sense approach in avoiding exposure to adult mosquitoes and any potential mosquito-borne diseases. 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. 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.
Residents are also encouraged to look for potential mosquito breeding sources around the home and take the following simple steps:
- Throw away all trash that can hold water as cans, jars, bottles, etc.
- Clean rain gutters/downspouts to prevent water from standing in gutters, or on flat roofs.
- Change water in bird baths, wading pools, etc at least once a week.
- Maintain swimming pools properly.
- Remove or turn over containers, buckets, etc which may accumulate water.
- Screen rain barrels to prevent adult mosquitoes from depositing eggs on the water's surface.
- Aerate ornamental ponds and stock with goldfish or other surface-feeding fish to control mosquito production.
- Dispose of any used tires without rims to prevent water accumulation.