Morton Grove traps turn up West Nile-infected mosquitoes
A pool of mosquitoes from Streamwood are tested for West Nile virus at the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District office. | Ruthie Hauge~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2012 10:24AM
MORTON GROVE — The North Shore Mosquito Abatement District sprayed a large portion of Morton Grove last week after mosquitoes caught in traps tested positive for the West Nile virus.
The spraying was part of work done July 19 in Morton Grove, Niles and Skokie.
“They conducted adult mosquito control in most of the village last Thursday night,” said Morton Grove Environmental Health Office Bonnie Burnett.
Burnett said the work was prompted by the capture of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus in traps in Morton Grove. Though the NSMAD does not publicize the location of those traps, they often are in or near Cook County Forest Preserves.
Burnett said the mosquitoes were trapped sometime between July 9 and July 16.
She noted that this summer’s hot, dry weather has been particularly conducive to the growth of large numbers of mosquitoes.
“The hot weather makes them breed more quickly,” she said.
In addition, when there is little rain the standing water in basins and other locations is not flushed out, which destroys the mosquito larvae. That allows them to grow into adult mosquitoes.
“This weather is bad from both points of view,” Burnett said.
Infected mosquitoes also have been trapped in other area communities, including Skokie, Evanston, Glenview and Niles.
But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there have been no human cases of West Nile so far this year in Illinois.
That’s far different than 10 years ago when an unusually hot summer allowed the West Nile virus to strike the Chicago area.
In Cook County alone there were 634 human cases and 41 deaths from the emerging mosquito-borne virus, which only three years earlier had first appeared in New York.
The tally from the Illinois outbreak — 884 human cases and 66 deaths — was the worst in the nation.
That was the year former Morton Grove Mayor Dan Scanlon became ill with West Nile encephalitis and his wife died from a West Nile-related illness. Scanlon, who died in 2010, remained in a wheelchair the rest of his life as a result of his illness.
Burnett said residents should clear away containers that collect standing water and regularly change the water in birdbaths and swimming pools. Citizens also are urged to take personal precautions by covering up exposed skin when going outdoors and using a repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
Burnett said anyone who finds standing water in such places as swimming pools can report it to the village. In addition, she said, residents who find dead birds can report those.
But birds are useful only if they have been dead less than 24 hours and show no signs that they died in some violent way. Of particular interest are crows and Blue Jays, she said.