The director of the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District warned Thursday that the risk from West Nile virus is increasing in Evanston and advised residents to take protective measures against mosquito bites.

“We don’t want to cause undue alarm,” said NSMAD director Roger Nasci, “but we do want to get the word out to residents that West Nile virus activity is increasing in the area and personal protection precautions are advisable.”

Although positive batches of mosquitoes with West Nile have also been found in agency traps in Glenview, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie, and Winnetka, those in the southern areas, particularly Evanston, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, and Skokie, have been most pronounced, Nasci said.

The agency is responding by increasing adult and larval mosquito control operations in these most affected areas, he added.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected Culexpipiens mosquito. Most people infected with the virus show no symptoms. Mild cases may cause a slight fever or headache.

More severe infections, however, are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.

Symptoms typically occur within three to 14 days after the bite from an infected mosquito. Persons 50 years of age or older are at the highest risk for serious illness.

The NSMAD recommends that residents take personal protection measures to minimize mosquito bites including using insect repellent, wearing loose fitting clothing, and avoiding peak mosquito feeding times during the hours around dawn and dusk.

Residents are urged to examine their property and eliminate any items that can hold water, particularly smaller items that may be easily overlooked. If it can hold water, it can breed mosquitoes, the agency warns.

Additional information can be found on the agency’s website.

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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