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Uptick in West Nile-infected mosquitoes comes weeks early for Chicago area



In the Chicago region, an increase in the number of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus was observed last week, which is much earlier in the summer than in previous years.

"Not only do we see a lot of Culex mosquitoes that are the carriers of the West Nile virus, but we see a lot of West Nile virus in them," he said.

Earlier this month, an Aurora woman and a Wheaton woman were feeding West Nile virus.

Officials with mosquito repellent districts and health departments are now on alert, warning residents and eliminating stagnant water. They urge people to hold back and not eat mosquitoes.

"Our concern, of course, is to prevent more cases as we move through the summer," said Kevin Dixon, environmental director of DuPage County Health Department

Spikes in mosquitoes with the West Nile virus were in the counties DuPage and Will and North Shore Mosquito Abatement District (NSMAD) reports.

"Our levels in the West Nile are above average," said Mark Clifton, managing director of NSMAD. "We are approaching these thresholds where we would see human infections."

Clifton said he usually sees these levels of West Nile-infected mosquitoes only in mid to late August. West Nile virus thrives in dry, hot weather, he said.

"It probably will not get better soon, the risk is most likely to increase," he said.

The DuPage County Fair works to keep visitors safe.

The fair reworked the drainage system, commissioned a refurbishment company and transformed a former rubbish dump into a stable natural landscape, said exhibition boss Jim McGuire.

"Keeping it fresh, keeping it nice," McGuire said.

Mosquito experts say there's no way to tell if we're at a climax for West Nile because it depends on the weather. Cold and humid weather will reduce this chance of becoming infected. The chance of becoming infected increases in hot weather and then typically drops after the first frost of the year.

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