Mosquito season is buzzing just around the corner, and with them comes more than just annoyance and itching bites.
Dale Bainter, the Administrator of the Morgan County Health Department, joined WLDS’ AM conversation last week to discuss mosquitoes and West Nile Virus.
Bainter tells us that, though the temperature may not be high enough, conditions are lining up for mosquito breeding.
“You know last year at this time we had positive mosquito samples in the Chicago area and in southern parts of the state. It just goes to show you how the mosquito population and West Nile virus specifically, are directly to the weather. With 40 degree weather this week, we’re a little bit off from mosquito but we’ve got a lot of water standing around that could lead to the right breeding for mosquito if it warms up soon.”
Bainter lets us know just how serious we should take these mosquitoes, because of the potential of West Nile Virus.
“So in 2002, I know that goes back a while, 2001 was the first year that they were first identified in Illinois. 2002 was the benchmark year though. In Illinois alone we had 884 human cases, and 67 deaths. There’s not a lot of things in Illinois that you can attribute 67 deaths in a year to, so its pretty significant. In recent years those numbers have dropped off due to our efforts and efforts around the state for reporting and for larviciding. But we usually see 150 to 200 human cases most years.”
Bainter says that though the mosquitoes may not travel far themselves, their breeding habits create a large radius of impact:
“Mosquitoes aren’t the best flyers in the world but they do reproduce rapidly. So, lets say it flies a block, but then it finds another place to reproduce and it covers another block. It doesn’t take too long for it to spread out in four directions. We can cover an entire village, and it seems like they always fins a place to reproduce. There’s breeding grounds everywhere. While one mosquito is only going to fly a block or two, they can reproduce and produce thousands within several days. So it doesn’t take long for them to cover an entire region, if they can keep finding those breeding sites. So, we always say reduce the sites that they can reproduce in. If its something that you can t handle getting rid of, call the Morgan County health department. Well come out put larvicide in it and make sure that were not growing mosquitoes”
The Morgan County Health Department would be glad to help with any mosquito issues or prevention of mosquito breeding. Additionally, they are now collecting dead bird specimens for West Nile Virus
testing. The bird needs to be a fairly fresh specimen preferably dead 24 hours or less with no visible signs of trauma. You can call 217-245-5111 and they will come pick up the bird.