Health officials hope to prevent spread of West Nile virus - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Health officials hope to prevent spread of West Nile virus

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MASSAC COUNTY (WSIL) -- The Southern Seven Health Department is urging residents to watch out for places with standing water as it could welcome mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.

"It's now getting to that point where it's hot and humid and it's starting to dry out more so it's possible that it will become more common," said Miranda Adams, an associate sanitarian for Southern Seven.

Monday, the department inspected two gravid traps in Massac County with one of them containing mosquitoes carrying the first case of West Nile Virus in Southern Illinois.

A gravid trap is a motor with a fan that sits on wooden pegs and is placed over a container of standing water. Rabbit pellet feed is added to enhance the smell that attracts mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Once the insects lay their eggs, the fan activates and blows the mosquitoes into the netting that prevents them from escaping.

"We actually put a larvicide tablet in the water as well that way when she does lay her eggs we're not breeding more mosquitoes," Adams said. "It does kill the eggs she lays and then it traps the mosquito in there."

Adams says there are 12 gravid traps across the southernmost seven counties, but adds that it's hard to tell if will spread or how potent it can be.

"If you have a lot of standing water in a ditch outside of your house or something, contact your local municipality or health department and we can disperse larvicide to prevent breeding of mosquitoes," Adams said.

No human cases of the virus have been reported.

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