There's no doubt that all the flooding we had caused a lot of problems across the Stateline, but there is a silver lining. It helped minimize one other problem... the West Nile Virus.
It's now been a week and a half since the heavy downpours brought floodwaters to the Stateline. Residents are still feeling the effects with areas of high standing water all across the area. Ryan Kerch, Environmental Health Supervisor Winnebago County said, "In the recent weeks, we've certainly seen an uptick in the number of calls regarding stagnant water, following all the rains we had a couple weeks ago."
And where there's water--there's mosquitos. Kerch says the flooding and so-called 'nuisance mosquitos' they bring has caused more residents to call in, worried about being infected by the West Nile Virus. However, Kerch says that the mosquitos found in the flooded waters are not a cause for concern, that the hot and humid weather has helped to keep the disease-carrying mosquitos away. He said, "When we see periods of extended rainfall, often times that new rainwater will flush out the old water that the culex mosquito likes. The culex mosquito, the one that can carry west nile virus, likes hot and dry temperatures. That's when we see an increase in their breeding."
Even though the West Nile-carrying mosquitos, the Culex, are out of the picture, residents should still take care to drain out water around their homes. Kerch says 'nusance' mosquitos can still linger in the floodwater and they still bite.
Kerch added, "Remember the three R's, those are Reduce, Repel, and Report. You want to reduce the number of mosquitos by trying to get rid of all areas of standing water, specifically around the home. Things like kiddie pools that haven't been emptied or bird baths, ponds that don't have the aeration."
Kerch says to repel the mosquitos using insect repellents that contain Deet, or to wear long pants and sleeves. If you see a cluster of mosquitos in urban areas, report it to the health department. The number for the Winnebago County Health Department Environmental Hotline is (815) 720-4100.
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