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The City of Evanston’s Health Department would like to remind residents that May 1 marks the beginning of the West Nile Virus season. As temperatures warm up, mosquitoes will grow and reproduce and be able to transmit the disease to residents.

In 2012 a warm spring and hot, dry summer resulted in more mosquitoes and more than 10 human cases of West Nile Virus in Evanston. Health Director Evonda Thomas-Smith is asking for help from residents to prevent West Nile Virus.

“Mosquitoes can breed in your backyard, in kids’ toys, pet bowls, bird baths and gutters,” explained Thomas-Smith. “We ask that residents look at their properties to locate standing water or items that could possibly hold standing water. Mosquitos that carry the virus hatch their eggs in stagnant water. Even very small amounts of water collected at the bottom of a plastic cup can harbor mosquito larva. Take precautions to avoid mosquitoes and practice the three “R’s”- reduce, repel and report.”

  • REDUCE exposure – avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night. Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flower pots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.
  • REPEL – when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • REPORT – beginning May 1, report dead birds or areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes to the Evanston Health Department by calling 3-1-1 or online atwww.cityofevanston.org/311.

The City of Evanston works with the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District (NSMAD) to help keep West Nile Virus under control. The district treats catch basins throughout the city during the spring so mosquitoes do not grow to adulthood and sprays to control adult mosquitoes when the population of adult mosquitoes gets too great. The Health Department provides education to residents, sets traps and tests mosquitoes for West Nile Virus weekly, and collects dead birds for testing.

To sign up for text or e-mail notifications for  NSMAD adult mosquito control operations, visit www.cityofevanston.org/newsletter, enter your phone number or e-mail address and select “Mosquito Abatement” under the heading “Special Interest.”