Traps net West Nile virus positive mosquito in Wilmette

Ecologist, Christopher Xamplas of the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District tests captured mosquitos for West Nile virus last summer. The abatement district found virus-infected mosquitoes in Wilmette on Aug. 4. | File
Ecologist, Christopher Xamplas of the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District tests captured mosquitos for West Nile virus last summer. The abatement district found virus-infected mosquitoes in Wilmette on Aug. 4. | File

On Monday, Wilmette joined its neighbor to the north in becoming home to West Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes, officials at the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District have reported.

The August discovery of a virus-infected mosquito in a Wilmette NSMAD trap follows the late June discovery in Kenilworth.

And, as they did when announcing those findings, abatement district representatives are again asking the public for help in minimizing the threat from West Nile Virus, which can cause a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease in fragile or immune compromised humans.

District representative David Zazra said the infected mosquito, taken from one of several traps across Wilmette, tested positive at the district’s own laboratory on Aug. 5. It has been sent to the Illinois Natural History Survey to be tested further.

Zazra reminded village residents that they can help fight the spread of the virus by helping to control the spread of the Culex mosquito, which carries the virus. Since the mosquito breeds in small areas of ponded water, he asked homeowners to look for, and empty, any item on their property that can hold water, such as empty flower pots, fountains, or children’s wading pools.

He also suggested that people going outside, especially in the early morning and evening hours when the mosquitoes are the most active, wear light and loose, long-sleeved clothing and pants to protect themselves. They should also use insect repellent on any exposed skin, he said.

So far this year, West Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes have been found in traps in all but one of the communities the NSMAD serves. In addition to Wilmette and Kenilworth, that includes Evanston, Winnetka, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook and Northfield, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, and Niles. Only Skokie remained virus free as of Aug. 5.

Abatement district teams will continue to examine traps and test mosquitoes found in them, until the first frost ends mostquitoes’ blood-sucking forays. That usually occurs sometime in September.

For more information from the North Shore Mosquito Abatement district visit www.nsmad.com.

BAD BUGS

WHAT: West Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes

WHERE: Wilmette

WHEN: Aug. 4

INFO: www.nsmad.com

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