CHICAGO — Chicago ranks No. 2 on a newly released list of Top Mosquito Cities in the United States.
Orkin compiled the list based on the number of mosquito customers serviced in 2014. According to Orkin, here are the top 10 mosquito cities in the country:
- Raleigh – Durham, N.C.
- Dallas – Fort Worth
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Nashville, Tenn.
“Mosquitoes can be a major health concern during the summer, no matter where you live,” said Entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D.
The biggest health concern is West Nile virus. Last year, there were four deaths and 42 reported cases of West Nile in Illinois according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Chikungunya is a newer mosquito-borne virus also on the Center for Disease and Prevention’s radar this season. Typical symptoms include a fever and joint pain.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Chikungunya. The CDC is now classifying it as a “nationally notifiable condition.” There have been more than 70 reported cases in the U.S. this year.
The only way to prevent West Nile virus or Chikungunya is to prevent mosquito bites. Orkin recommends:
- Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent before heading outside.
- Wear long sleeves and pants outside from dawn to dusk, which is prime time for most mosquito activity.
- Empty any standing water from bird baths, flower planters as well as toys and playground equipment outside the home to help prevent water from collecting. Mosquitoes only need a small amount of water – just a few inches – to breed.
- Clean gutters and downspouts regularly or cover them with mesh to help prevent leaves and debris from collecting and holding water.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has a West Nile Virus hotline set up at 866-369-9710 to get more information about the virus.