First instances of West Nile mosquitoes in North Shore this year prompt regional spraying

Julia Jacobs, Summer Editor

Evanston’s first instance of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus was confirmed Thursday by the city’s Health and Human Services Department.

The first mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus in the North Shore were collected in Winnetka on June 22 and tested positive two days later, according to the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District. Evanston and eight other nearby municipalities were sprayed on June 30 during the night, the NSMAD website said.

West Nile virus is transmitted through a mosquito that has contracted the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

Two in 10 people people bitten by a mosquito with the virus experience symptoms, typically including fever, headache and body aches. Symptoms can strike between three and 15 days of the mosquito bite. People over 50 years old have the highest risk of experiencing more severe illness, which can lead to encephalitis, meningitis and possible death.

To avoid the virus, Evanston’s Health and Human Services Department recommends getting rid of nearby standing water, making sure doors and windows have secure screens and avoiding exposure to mosquitoes.

A total of 22 states had reported West Nile virus infections in humans, birds or mosquitoes by the end of June.

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