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Hot, dry weather heightens West Nile virus risk

Published July 26, 2012 2:33 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Chicago • Hot, dry weather in the Midwest has created the perfect conditions for mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus.

The Culex mosquito breeds in still-damp ditches and underground storm water basins.

Indiana, Ohio and Illinois are reporting higher rates of infected mosquitoes compared with past years. More infected mosquitoes means a higher West Nile risk for humans. Illinois and Oklahoma report earlier-than-usual cases of human infection.

What's more, the dry weather means the pesky floodwater mosquito is scarce. That makes people think mosquitoes aren't a problem and gives the Culex mosquito a chance to sneak up and bite.

Health officials urge people to wear insect repellent though they may not be noticing biting mosquitoes.