Hot, dry weather heightens West Nile virus risk

CHICAGO (AP) - Hot, dry weather in the Midwest has created the perfect conditions for mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus.

The Culex mosquito breeds in still-damp ditches and underground storm water basins.

Indiana, Ohio and Illinois are reporting higher rates of infected mosquitoes compared with past years. More infected mosquitoes means a higher West Nile risk for humans. Illinois and Oklahoma report earlier-than-usual cases of human infection.

What's more, the dry weather means the pesky floodwater mosquito is scarce. That makes people think mosquitoes aren't a problem and gives the Culex mosquito a chance to sneak up and bite.

Health officials urge people to wear insect repellent though they may not be noticing biting mosquitoes.

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