Although it has been a slow year thus far for West Nile Virus activity among mosquitoes, the Will County Health Department advises residents that caution still must be upheld during these summer months. The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting that 11 counties in Illinois have now reported positive samples. In Will County, a trap operated in Romeoville turned up a positive sample, after being collected on August 13th. Meanwhile, a trap operated by the Will County Health Department in Plainfield had a sample collected on August 11th which also came up positive.

WCHD operates 14 mosquito traps around Will County, designed for frequent testing of possible West Nile Virus activity in the area.

West Nile virus can be passed to a human being when he or she is bitten by a culex mosquito, after the misquito has bitten a bird infected with WNV. For this reason, the Will County Health Department also operates a West Nile Virus Surveillance Hotline. If you spot a dead bird on your property, you are asked to call the Health Department’s Surveillance Hotline at 1-815-740-7631 to report it. You will be contacted to determine if the bird can be picked up for testing. The most common birds that carry WNV are robins, blue jays, and crows. As summer continues, Will County residents are reminded to wear long pants, long sleeves, and shoes and socks during peak mosquito hours, which are from dusk to dawn. Insect repellent containing DEET is also recommended. In addition, residents are reminded to remove standing water around their homes which could contribute to mosquito breeding. Examples of standing water would include water in gutters, old tires, sandboxes, and children’s wading pools.