Cool summer keeping West Nile in check in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Experts say what has so far been a cool, wet summer is probably limiting West Nile virus in Illinois.

Melaney Arnold is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health. She tells The News-Gazette in Champaign (http://bit.ly/1kj2PK9 ) that a year ago 4 percent of the mosquitoes trapped in counties around the state carried West Nile. At this point in 2012 that figure was 14 percent. But this year it's just 1 percent.

University of Illinois Extension Entomologist Phil Nixon says there are plenty of mosquitoes around. But most aren't the Culex mosquitoes that transmit the virus.

But a run of hot, dry weather that favors Culex could increase their numbers.

Jeff Blackford of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District said the drought of 2012 led to high populations.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

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