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Regardless of whether you live in Winnetka or Lake Forest, every suburb of the Greater Chicagoland Area has been affected by mosquito borne illnesses, and has had to deal with the increasingly greater risk of diseases such as West Nile, Rocky Mountain Fever, and now the Zika Virus. While yet to be carried directly to our shores by those pesky insects, experts are already recommending that we begin preparing for the worst when it comes to expecting and planning for a Zika outbreak.
Currently still spreading throughout South and Central America at an unprecedented rate, there have already been more than 100 reported cases in the United States stemming solely from travel to the America’s southern countries and islands. Areas to which Zika has been reported locally have also been steadily moving north towards the United States and and eventually to the cities of Long Grove, Highland Park, and the Chicagoland area. And we don’t have to tell you how much of a problem mosquitoes already are around here as we’re sure you’ve been outside during the summer months and experience them first hand.
Ranging from Northbrook to Winnetka, few of the suburbs have been left untouched by the presence of a mosquito population. At minimal numbers when it comes to cases reported in Illinois, it has continued to rise in the short weeks since the CDC first started searching for a vaccine, and Illinois now has the 5th most reported cases of Zika in the Country. As with nearly all inevitable viruses, there is good news and bad. The good news is that the majority of cases are generally mild, last for only a few days to a week and include symptoms that are, while undesirable, not unfamiliar and range from a fever or rash to joint pain and Conjunctivitis (red eyes). The real danger is to pregnant mothers. Contracting Zika during pregnancy can result in passing the virus on to the unborn child and is known to cause significant birth defects.
While Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, most commonly found in Central and South America, it is also known to thrive in areas of the United States such as Lake Forest or Long Grove. It can also be transmitted from a man to sex partners. Experts are recommending that you take every protective precaution available while vacationing in known Zika areas, from use of an EPA registered insect repellant to staying in doors or reducing the amount of exposed skin while outside with long sleeves. It is merely a matter of time before the virus reaches our shores locally and it is expected that we will be dealing with outbreaks of Zika for the foreseeable future.
The good news is that you can go ahead and begin controlling mosquitoes that spread not only Zika virus but also Dengue, and Chikungunya with a couple of Mosquito Squad recommended practices. Recommending these practices for any area from Highland Park to Northbrook, and the surrounding areas, you’ll have the best chance of staying safe while enjoying the outdoors by:
1. Regularly eliminating standing water as often as once a week. Whether transferring an outdoor plant from water to soil, draining a kids pool when not in use, or simply making sure tarps are pulled taut to avoid puddles, this will help to remove mosquitoes favorite breeding conditions and cut down on the number you’ll have to worry about.
2. Verifying that all doors and windows have screens in good repair installed and use air conditioning when available to avoid mosquitoes entering your home. Be sure to wear long sleeves and use protective bug spray when going outside to better control the number of mosquito bites.
3. And making sure to contact the Squad when it comes to mosquito protection for your home. Maintaining your yard, dressing appropriately, and using bug spray will definitely help, but the only way to truly drastically cut down on the mosquito population in your immediate area and have the best chance of keeping your family and pets safe from harmful diseases is to alert the squad to your need for superior mosquito protection.