SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – The numbers of certain mosquitoes are down across Illinois due to drought, but those carrying West Nile virus are actually breeding more, and breeding faster.
Mosquitoes breed in water, and if it’s a wet summer, there are plenty of flood plains to facilitate that. Those carrying west Nile, however, like to breed in stagnant water, which is more prevalent in hot, dry conditions.
Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold says home and business owners should remove all standing water from their properties.
“Any place that you do have stagnant water definitely does have the potential to have West Nile virus, or mosquitoes breed there that carry West Nile,” says Arnold. “So the best thing is, even if you’re thinking of just a small pool of water, make sure to dump it out. That’s the easiest thing to do.”
Arnold says the department has tracked a spike in West Nile cases in birds and mosquitoes over the past few weeks. There are now cases confirmed in nine Illinois counties, though she says cases the department hasn’t detected might exist elsewhere.
Copyright Illinois Radio Network