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Increase expected in West Nile carrying mosquitoes due to drier, warmer weather

QUINCY (WGEM) — The first human case of West Nile Virus in Illinois was reported on Tuesday by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Local officials said while it’s late in the year, they could start to see the number of cases rise.

Tony Dede, Adams County Health Department Environmental Health Supervisor, said the wet spring and early summer kept the virus carrying mosquitoes at bay. Dede said as of last Friday the have tested 109 batches, totaling 11,602 mosquitoes, for the year. He reports none of those batches have tested positive for the West Nile, but that could change with the changing weather.

“Anytime the weather stays dry and there is less rain our predictions are just like the weather,” Dede mentions. “You’re going to see more of the West Nile Virus mosquito producing.”

While the drier and warmer weather is expected to cause an increase in West Nile carrying Mosquitoes, the Illinois stats for cases are significantly lower than last year Dede said.

“This time last year we had about 176 [or] 178 human cases and we have one this year,” said Dede. “So you can see last year a lot drier, lot warmer, a lot more production of West Nile Virus.”

He also said at this point last year for the State 1,300 batches tested positive, this year 160. Also, 12 birds tested positive and this year only two. He said the current numbers will likely increase the rest of the season.

Dede recommends that you should any stagnant around your home and wear repellent with deet. You should report any birds that have died for no apparent reason to the health department, so they can test it for the virus.

Chelsea Smith

Meteorologist Chelsea Smith is part of the WGEM Storm Track Weather team.

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