Wet weather brought out bugs
By Emily McFarlan firstname.lastname@example.org August 15, 2011 12:42AM
Updated: October 19, 2011 3:16AM
This summer’s thunderstorms left many throughout areas in McHenry and Kane counties without power. They downed trees and flooded basements.
They also left standing water across the area, creating breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus.
Earlier this month, mosquitoes trapped on the east side of Aurora became the first in Kane County to test positive for West Nile.
That comes as the McHenry County Department of Health has reported an uptick in the number of cases of Lyme disease this summer in the county. The disease can be carried by black-legged ticks or deer ticks, the department said.
“There are so many things that affect insect populations — it’s just crazy,” said Devin Krafka, a research assistant in the entomology department at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle.
“I would say the weather has an effect on all the bugs.”
The mosquitoes trapped in Aurora make Kane the 12th county in Illinois where West Nile has been reported this year in mosquitoes, birds or horses, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. A batch of mosquitoes in Oswego in late June was the first in northern Illinois to show signs of the virus this year.
So far, no cases have been reported in humans, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“That is somewhat unusual,” said Tom Schlueter, spokesperson for the Kane County Health Department.
Last year, five cases of West Nile were reported in people in Kane County alone.
The virus is transmitted through the bite of a culex mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus show no symptoms of illness, although it may lead to encephalitis or meningitis in the most serious instances.