Will County Now Third County in State For Positive West Nile Virus Mosquito Samples

File- In this Aug. 16, 2012 file photo, mosquitos are sorted at the Dallas County mosquito lab in Dallas. A cooler-than-normal spring has slowed the breeding season for mosquitoes, but experts warn this doesn't mean that Texans should let down their guard when it comes to protecting themselves from the West Nile virus. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Will County has now had five batches of mosquitoes that have tested as positive for active West Nile Virus. This ranks third in the state behind Cook County, where 81 batches have tested positive; and DuPage County, where nine have tested positive.

The Will County Health Department Environmental Health Division operates 14 mosquito traps throughout the county, and checks each one twice a week. The most recent positive samples came from traps in Manhattan and Crete.  The previous positive samples came from Bolingbrook and Joliet.

West Nile Virus is spread to human beings by the bite of a Culex mosquito, after that same mosquito has bitten a bird infected by WNV.

Residents are advised to remove stagnant water from their property, such as in gutters or birdbaths, as these are conditions very attractive to the Culex mosquito. Complaints about properties with stagnant water can be called in to the WCHD Environmental Division’s West Nile Hotline, at 815-740-7631.

It is also important to remember that besides testing mosquito batches, WCHD Environmental Health also collects birds and sends them to the Illinois Department of Public Helath (IDPH) lab for testing throughout the mosquito season. If residents find a dead bird on their property, without physical injury, they are encouraged to report the bird by calling the West Nile Hotline. If the bird does have a physical injury, and therefore cannot be tested, it is recommended that residents immediately dispose of the bird.

As always, the Will County Health Department offers this advice to avoid bites by mosquitoes. First, wear insect repellent with DEET. Second, if you are outside during peak mosquito times between dusk and dawn, and yes, we understand it is hot, but it’s a good idea during those hours to wear socks and shoes, as well as a thin long sleeve shirt, and perhaps old pants that cover your lets and offer protection.

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