Mosquito Population Grows With Recent Rains

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Last weeks heavy rain has health officials worried about a spike in the mosquito population, increasing the threat of viruses like West Nile.

Now that the weather is nice, there is no better place to be than outside. From the river to your backyard the Stateline is buzzing, from mosquitoes. While the heavy rains did wash away some of the mosquito larva, things are about to change.

"As water drys up there are spots where a mosquito can come and lay eggs," said Winnebago County Health Department Vector Control Specialist Terri Howard.

It's water like that that a mosquito will lay their eggs in tonight, hatch by this weekend, and cause a whole lot of itching.

"But that is the floodwater mosquito. It is a nuisance mosquito and is not a disease carrying mosquito. What we are actually looking for is the Culex Mosquito," said Winnebago County Health Department Supervisor of Environmental Protection Todd Marshall.

So far the Culex Mosquito has been hard to come with no reported cases of the West Nile Virus. Winnebago County continues to monitor the area with eight mosquito traps. Once a mosquito is caught, it's brought back to the lab for testing. Areas with an abundant population and standing water are then treated

"We do have a larvicide program that we can use on public property if there is more then five days of stagnant water," Marshall said.

While the Health Department continues their treatment, they also need your help.The community should follow the three "R's" which is reduce repel and report. That means getting rid of any standing water on your property, wearing a bug repellent that contains deet, and reporting any dead birds as birds carry the disease and a mosquito transports it.

The mosquito population is most active between dusk and dawn and are most likely to carry the West Nile virus between late July and September but can last into November if the weather remains warm.

Winnebago County has reported cases of West Nile since 2001 with three confirmed cases last year.

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