Last year was the most active West Nile Virus season McLean County experienced in recent years. (Photo from Flickr user Quapan)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - The McLean County Health Department is warning residents to be careful now that's its warm enough for mosquitoes to breed and spread West Nile Virus.
Spokeswoman Kera Simon Brossette said West Nile has been circulating since 1999 and there was a spike in activity last year because it was so hot and dry.
"These types of mosquitoes, they are not flood water mosquitoes, they are house mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus and all they need is an inch of stagnant water to be able to breed,"
Brossette said. "Because it was so dry last year, there was no flushing of water sources going on."
Brossette said residents should protect themselves by wearing protective clothing at dawn and dusk, wear insect repellent with DEET, remove stagnant water from around the home and report dead birds to the Health Department at 888-5482.
Resident can also help the department by collecting dead birds for surveillance.
"We get calls for dead birds a lot. We start our surveillance efforts in the middle of May. Last year we had to start early because it was so warm, so early. And, really since the middle of April we've had to turn people away," Brossette said.
The Health Department said the bird shouldn't be dead for more than 24 hours and it should not have any obvious signs of trauma. Adults should put the bird inside two plastic bags using gloves and tongs.
There were four positive West Nile birds in Bloomington and one in Normal last year and one human case in McLean County.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowski@cumulus.com