With the wet weather that has plagued the area for the last month, there is an increase in standing water which serves as mosquito breeding sites. In recent years, the state has seen several cases of the West Nile Virus which is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. To help reduce breeding sites, residents are urged to take simple precautions like emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels; changing water in pet dishes frequently and replace water in bird baths; keeping children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when not in use and also drilling holes in tire swings so water can drain out. People are also always encouraged to prevent mosquito bites by using repellents containing DEET and wearing long sleeves and pants when out between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
The Fayette County Health Department has conducted testing for West Nile Virus this summer with all results coming back negative so far. Rhonda Andrews of the Health Department says they have been collecting birds for testing as birds and mosquitoes recycle West Nile Virus between themselves.
And, Andrews explains that residents should be on the lookout for birds that have appeared to just die naturally and contact the health department.
The number of human cases of West Nile Virus in Illinois has decreased from 290 in 2012 to 117 in 2013 and just 44 in 2014. Fayette County has not had a human case of the virus but a case has been reported in past years in Marion, Bond and Montgomery counties.