Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus
Disease confirmed in pools in Morris, traps in Minooka
Following positive tests for the presence of the disease, the Grundy County Health Department and the village of Minooka are alerting residents to the precautions they should be taking to protect themselves from West Nile Virus.
The Grundy County Health Department is reporting that three batches of mosquitoes recently
collected in the city of Morris have tested positive for West Nile Virus. These pools of mosquitoes constitute only the second occurrence of West Nile Virus infected mosquitoes ever detected in Grundy County.
The last positive mosquito pool, according to Illinois Department of Public Health information, was found in 2007.
Additionally, in the village of Minooka, both the private company Clarke and the Illinois Department of Health have had live traps placed throughout the village. One of the traps has detected adult mosquitoes infected with the West Niles Virus.
With positive West Nile Virus human cases beginning to increase in Illinois, Minooka is reminding residents to take steps to prevent their exposure to the disease and reduce the chances of contracting West Nile Virus.
“West Nile Virus is a rare but serious disease transmitted from bird to mosquito to human,” said George Balis, entomologist for Clarke. “Minooka has an integrated mosquito control program that helps reduce mosquito populations, but it’s prudent to take personal precautions.”
The Grundy County Health Department also wants to stress to residents the importance of taking the time to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes by eliminating breeding sites around their home. The mosquitoes most associated with transmitting this virus, commonly known as the house mosquito, breeds most prolifically in stagnant water that has a heavy organic content.
Stagnant water locations such as old tires, buckets, cans, blocked gutters on houses and garages, and unused wading pools are some of the types of locations these mosquitoes will seek out for breeding.
The health department also suggests residents reduce the risk of being bitten by making certain screens on windows and doors are intact and tight-fitting to keep mosquitoes out. Additionally they suggest that wearing long sleeve shirts and pants in the evening hours and to use mosquito repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions to further reduce your risk of exposure to all mosquitoes, especially those that transmit West Nile Virus.
Information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website says that products containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD), or IR3535 “typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection."
Minooka offers a lengthier yard and home checklist to help home-owners eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding grounds, including recommending the filling or draining of any low places (puddles, ruts) in yard.
Other recommendations include:
• Keep drains, ditches and culverts clean of weeds and trash so water will drain properly.
• Cover trash containers to keep out rainwater.
• Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets to prevent puddles of standing water.
• Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store them indoors when not in use.
• Make sure your backyard pool is properly cared for while on vacation.
• Fill in tree root holes and hollow stumps that hold water with sand or concrete.
• Change the water in bird baths and plant pots or drip trays at least once a week.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website, “mild cases of West Nile
infections may cause a slight fever or headache. More severe infections are marked by a rapid
onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.”
These symptoms will typically appear between and three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The State Health Departments web-site also states, “Persons at the highest risk for serious illness are those 50 years of age or older.”
In Minooka, Clarke — which is based in Roselle, Ill., and has been at the forefront of the mosquito control industry since 1946 — was to go forth with a scheduled fog application Sept. 2, as part of Minooka’s control program.
For further information regarding West Nile Virus, contact the Grundy County Health
Department at (815) 941-3115. You may also obtain information from the Illinois Department of
Public Health’s website located at http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or contact Clarke for mosquito control tips by calling (800) 942-2555.