Just one day after the first confirmed case of West Nile virus in Illinois this summer was reported in Will County, mosquitoes tested in Lake County have also tested positive for the disease.
That news came from the Lake County Health Department, which announced that a batch of mosquitoes tested positive for the virus on July 14. According to the department, the batch is the first confirmed indicator of the virus in the county this year.
“Hot weather and standing water create the ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed,” Executive Director Mark Pfister said. “Residents need to take action to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”
With flooding in the Lake County area, there are many pools of standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Some of those mosquitoes that hatched in floodwater don’t carry the disease, but others that target water sources like buckets, gutters, and plant containers can carry the disease and could pose a threat to residents.
“We need everyone to eliminate stagnant water from their properties to keep these mosquitoes at bay,” department Senior Biologist Michael Adam said.
Residents are being encouraged to wear insect repellant, to drain bird baths and buckets that could hold standing water, and to dress with long sleeves and pants during peak mosquito hours, which occur around dawn and around dusk.
According to the Health Department, there were two human cases of West Nile confirmed in Lake County, and there have been 58 cases and two confirmed deaths since 2002.
The state’s first confirmed case of West Nile virus was diagnosed in Will County late last month and was announced officially on Thursday. Batches of mosquitoes in six different Chicago suburbs have also tested positive for the disease, including Skokie and Evanston.