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City warns against West Nile, offers protection tips

WHEATON – As the summer season arrives, so do potentially dangerous mosquitoes.

The City of Wheaton and the DuPage County Health Department are warning residents of the dangers of mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus and offering tips to control mosquito populations.

In a release, officials said that last year alone, 5,387 human cases of West Nile were reported nationally, including 289 Illinois cases and 12 fatalities. There were 56 such cases in DuPage County, five of which resulted in death.

David Hass, the communications manager for the DuPage County Health Department, said that mosquitoes that are out now are known as "floodwater" or "nuisance" mosquitoes. Those that carry West Nile are known as Culex pipiens and are present during the dry months of July and August. The county has been testing for West Nile since early May and there have been no positive tests, though Hass warned that the virus is in the environment.

The City of Wheaton is part of the 22-square mile Wheaton Mosquito Abatement District. To report standing water in the city, call the district contractor, Clark Environmental Management Inc., at 1-800-942-2555.

The health department and City Hall offered the following tips to residents:

• If outdoors when mosquitoes are active, dress in light colored, long-sleeved clothing, long pants and socks during prime mosquito hours. Apply mosquito repellent with DEET to clothing and exposed skin.

• Report neglected pools to the mosquito hotline at 1-800-942-2555. Technicians are dispatched to inspect and treat the pool, as necessary, to eliminate the risk.

• Discard any outdoor container that might hold water or empty water from wading pools and birdbaths once a week.

• Keep grass cut short and shrubbery well trimmed around the house so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.

• Do not dump grass clippings into low lying areas that collect water after rain falls to prevent mosquito larvae development.

• Report dead birds on your property to the DuPage County Health Department. Dead birds can be the first indicators of the presence of West Nile Virus.

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