Ford County Public Health kicks off mosquito surveillance program

PAXTON — The Ford County Public Health Department began its West Nile virus surveillance program for this year on June 1.

The program includes trapping adult mosquitoes and testing them for the West Nile virus. 

The health department uses a gravid mosquito trap, which captures gravid female mosquitoes — those with mature eggs. The trap consists of a pail or pan of water with organic material and a small battery-powered suction tube. When mosquitoes attempt to enter the container to lay eggs, they are sucked up into the net where they are held for collection.

The traps are particularly useful for testing for West Nile virus, because gravid females have already blood-fed on birds or mammals and therefore may already be infected with the virus.  The gravid trap is widely used for West Nile virus surveillance because of its ability to attract gravid Culex females, which are the main vectors driver of the virus.  Many types of organic infusion can be utilized to attract the gravid female. 

The health department also sends birds that have recently died from unknown causes to a state laboratory to test for West Nile virus. Persons who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact the health department.  To report an overabundance of mosquitos or a dead bird, people can contact the health department at 217-379-9281.

Through an Illinois Department of Public Health vector control grant, the health department conducts public surveillance, education, trapping, identification and monitoring of the Culex Pipiens (a.k.a., Northern house mosquito), Aedes Albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito, which is known to inhabit used tire piles), and many others which transmit the West Nile virus, along with the St. Louis, LaCrosse and Western equine encephalitis viruses. Control and elimination of mosquito areas and population are then targeted. Identification and control of the mosquito population is an important public health function due to their ability to pass disease.

It is important that everybody do their part now to protect themselves and their family from mosquito bites. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Anyone living in an area where West Nile virus is present in mosquitoes can get infected. West Nile virus has been detected in all lower 48 states (not in Hawaii or Alaska). Outbreaks have been occurring every summer since 1999.

The risk of infection is highest for people who work outside or participate in outdoor activities because of greater exposure to mosquitoes.  Illness from West Nile disease usually occurs two to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito and is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches. However, serious illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, with lingering complications and even death, are possible.

Serious illness can occur in people of any age. However, people over 60 years of age are at the greatest risk for severe disease. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk for serious illness.  People who think they or a family member might have West Nile virus disease should consult a healthcare provider for evaluation and diagnosis.  Most cases of West Nile virus occur from June to September, but if mosquitoes are present there is the potential of West Nile virus.

For more information about mosquito-borne diseases, visit:

Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County


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Alexander Sonicia wrote on July 21, 2017 at 3:07 pm

I am glad you are testing. Too bad we can't just kill all the mosquitoes. :(

ultimatecorehealth wrote on August 16, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Very interesting article, I have always heard to report dead birds to the health department but I never really knew why. This year has been particularly bad for mosquitos, I've noticied quite a bit more in my backyard than normal. There also seems to be more ticks as well! So be careful out there, wear your bug spray and get your citronella candles ready!

My website:

allhealthpost wrote on November 21, 2017 at 2:11 am

Here you can find related resources 

Elephantitis West Nile Virus - Detailed Guide Zika Virus Info