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updated: 3/27/2013 11:38 AM

WEST CHICAGO MOSQUITO ABATEMENT DISTRICT 2013 MOSQUITO SEASON UPDATE

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Rosemary Mackey

West Chicago, Illinois: March 26, 2013 -- The West Chicago Mosquito Abatement District (WCMAD) has released its 2013 Mosquito Season Update. The Update includes information on the West Nile Virus (WNV), with an overview on the efforts of the District to control nuisance mosquitoes, reduce the potential of mosquito-borne disease transmission and provide a comfortable and healthy atmosphere for district residents. The report from the WCMAD which follows also includes tips that can help people in the fight against the West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus Update

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In 2012, West Nile virus (WNV) made a dramatic resurgence across the United States with 5,387 human cases being reported by the Centers for Disease Control. This is the second highest case count since 2003 when 9,862 were reported. WNV was first diagnosed in New York City in 1999 and is a well-established annual mosquito-borne disease threat across the country. Over 36,600 human cases have been reported during the past fourteen years. The following are the top ten states that recorded the most WNV cases in 2012 in descending order: TX, CA, LA, IL, MS, MI, OK, NE, CO and AZ. Texas recorded reported 34% of the USA case count with a massive epidemic centered in the Dallas metropolitan area of 1,834 cases including 84 fatalities.

In 2012, the State of Illinois recorded 289 human WNV cases, including 12 fatalities. This represents the most cases since 2002 when 884 cases and 66 fatalities were reported.

In 2012, DuPage County recorded 56 human WNV cases including 5 fatalities, compared to 2 in 2011, and 17 in 2010. Intensive mosquito population surveillance is performed by the State of Illinois Department of Health, DuPage County, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and Clarke Mosquito Control. Overall in 2012, surveillance confirmed 18 birds and 451 adult mosquito samples positive for WNV within DuPage County. This ongoing research continues to demonstrate the ongoing risk for significant WNV activity within DuPage County.

Clarke Mosquito Control will maintain close contact with the Centers for Disease Control, Illinois Department of Public Health, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, and the DuPage County Health Department regarding West Nile virus data and trends during the 2013 season.

Symptoms of the disease are initially similar to the flu, with muscle weakness and disorientation. Though the majority of those infected will have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, in some individuals, West Nile Virus can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and in severe cases, paralysis, coma or death. The disease is most serious -- even fatal -- in those with compromised immune systems and the elderly.

West Chicago M.A.D. Program Overview

The City of West Chicago is within the boundary of the twenty-seven (27) square mile, West Chicago Mosquito Abatement District (WCMAD). The objectives of the WCMAD are to control nuisance mosquitoes, reduce the potential of mosquito-borne disease transmission, and provide a comfortable and healthy atmosphere for district residents. The primary targets of the program are the floodwater mosquito (Aedes vexans) -- the dominant nuisance species, and the northern house mosquito (Culex pipiens) -- the potential disease carrier.

Environmentally sensitive and effective mosquito control is accomplished within the WCMAD utilizing Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an approach that includes the following components: larval site monitoring, biological control, and the careful and strategic use of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency labeled and registered pesticide products.

In WCMAD's IPM approach, potential and historical larval sites are frequently inspected, biological control agents (fish, insect growth regulators, and Bacillus bacteria byproducts) are utilized whenever possible. The adult mosquito population is scientifically monitored; pesticides are strategically applied only when necessary. The key is to concentrate on larval control within the district boundary, scientifically assess the adult population, and perform adulticiding only on an as needed basis.

What Can Residents Do?

According to Clarke Mosquito Control, our partners in mosquito control, individuals can take the following steps to protect themselves against infection and assist in the fight against West Nile Virus:

• If outdoors when mosquitoes are active, dress in light-colored, long-sleeved clothing, long pants and socks when outdoors during prime mosquito hours. Apply mosquito repellent with DEET to clothing and exposed skin in accordance with label directions.

• Neglected swimming pools can be ideal sources for larval development to the mosquito species that transmits WNV and a public health hazard. Residents should report neglected pools to the MOSQUITO HOTLINE @ 1-800-942-2555. Technicians would be dispatched to inspect and treat the pool, as necessary to eliminate the risk.

• Discard any outdoor container that might hold water, or empty water from wading pools and birdbaths once a week.

• Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well trimmed around the house so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.

• Do not dump grass clippings into low lying areas that collect water after rainfalls to prevent mosquito larvae development. The use of mulching lawnmowers is encouraged to eliminate grass clipping disposal.

• Report dead birds on your property to the DuPage County Health Department. Dead birds (crows, blue jays and raptors) can be the first indicators of the presence of West Nile Virus in the area.

For the latest information on West Nile Virus, consult the Illinois Department of Health website at www.idph.state.il.us, or the DuPage County Health Department website at http://www.dupagehealth.org/ehs/wnv/surv.asp.

Mosquito Hotline

District residents are encouraged to report standing water areas that could develop larvae, and excessive mosquito annoyance conditions. The calls should be made to WCMAD's contractor, Clarke Environmental Mosquito Management, Inc. of Roselle, on the MOSQUITO HOTLINE @ 1-800-942-2555.

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