Health

Why West Nile risk at the highest levels since 2012 outbreak

Why West Nile risk at the highest levels since 2012 outbreak

The risk for West Nile virus in the suburbs is at its highest level since an outbreak in 2012, officials say.

During the past week, North Shore Mosquito Abatement District employees have found a significant increase in mosquitoes carrying the virus.

“The amount of virus we are detecting in mosquitoes is well above the historical average for this time of year and is also occurring earlier in the season than the average,” Director Mark Clifton said in a news release. “These factors indicate that the risk for human West Nile virus infections is elevated and will likely remain elevated through the remainder of August.”

The fact that the rates are higher than 2012 is not a good thing. That year, 290 Illinois residents, including 174 in Cook County, became ill with West Nile virus.