Riverside Fire Chief Anthony Bednarz announced Monday that a bird found dead in Riverside last week has tested positive for the West Nile virus. He added, however, that “just because there’s a dead bird doesn’t mean the virus is in the community” and that West Nile tests done previously for infected mosquitoes this summer in Riverside has come back negative.
“At this point, it’s more of a wait and see thing,” Bednarz said. “This is not a time to panic. The best thing people can do is to take the usual precautions against mosquitoes.”
Bednarz said that on Friday, Aug. 12, a dead blue jay later found to have contracted West Nile was found within the Riverside village limits. However, Bednarz would not pinpoint exactly where the bird was found.
“We’re not releasing that information,” he said. “We don’t want to have anxiety in the area.”
Paul Geery, assistant manager biologist at the Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District, said Tuesday morning that the district has seen an increase in the number of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in the area surrounding Riverside.
The district regularly sprays pesticides in catch water basins and other stagnant water pools, but Geery said full-scale pesticide spraying?”directed at killing adult mosquitoes, rather than just larvae?”may be necessary in the near future.
“We’re starting to see some activity, and I suspect that the area could be [sprayed] as early as today,” Geery said Tuesday morning.
As of yesterday morning, the district was still running tests at mosquito traps in the area. He said if spraying hasn’t already taken place by early this week, it’s likely that it will be necessary within the next two weeks.
Mosquitoes of the Culex genus, which are different from the average “nuisance mosquito,” are prone to becoming infected with the virus. Culex mosquitoes thrive in hot, dry weather.
Geery said unless weather cools down, it’s likely that West Nile will continue to be a threat.
?”Katharine Grayson and Bob Uphues