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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first West Nile virus (WNV) positive mosquito batch reported in Illinois for 2013. While the City of Evanston has not yet had reported cases of WNV, the Evanston Health Department reminds residents that exposure to WNV is still a risk throughout the summer months.

“Despite the lower level of West Nile virus activity so far this year as compared to this time last year, we continue to emphasize mosquito prevention measures to Evanston residents,” said Health Department Director Evonda Thomas-Smith.

The best way to prevent WNV, or any other mosquito-borne illness, is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around the home and to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing insect repellent and protective clothing and emptying containers with standing water.

The North Shore Mosquito Abatement District (NSMAD) conducts surveillance, source reduction, larval control and targeted adult mosquito control operations as needed throughout Evanston. Although mosquito abatement reduces the risk of exposure to WNV, it does not replace the need for personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Spraying for adult mosquitos in Evanston is conducted by NSMAD. Residents can get advance notice of planned adult mosquito abatement operations by going to o www.cityofevanston.org/subscribe, selecting subscription type, entering their email or wireless number and then choosing “Mosquito Abatement” under the “Special Interest” section. Typically, member communities get about 48 hours’ notice prior to spraying and operations are conducted in the late evening to early morning hours as weather permits. Animals, such as birds, can be infected as well; and dead birds can be a sign that WNV is being transmitted between birds and mosquitos in the area. Residents can report a dead bird by calling 311.

More information on WNV is available at www.cityofevanston.org/health or 847-448-8055.