After a series of storms brought several inches of rain to the Northwest suburbs last week, flooding caused many residents to be stranded and many businesses to close. Another threat was looming as the floodwaters continued to rise in many residential areas and local bodies of water: mosquitoes.
Teamsters Local 700 is proud to represent seven members at the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District that include three mechanics, three field supervisors and an assistant of internal services. These members helped make sure that all of the communities they service in the North suburbs were kept safe from any threats carried by the high breeding rate of mosquitoes in standing water.
According to a story by NBC 5 Chicago, the District reported that the flood water mosquitoes in the areas they service are more of a nuisance than a threat over those that carry the West Nile virus, but crews were out spraying day and night just to be sure.
Last Friday, Governor Bruce Rauner issued a disaster proclamation for Kane, Lake and McHenry counties, and added Cook County to the list on Sunday.
“We often take our safety and well being for granted because we forget about people like the workers at Northwest Mosquito that dedicate themselves to public safety everyday,” said Teamsters Local 700 President Becky Strzechowski. “We are lucky that we don’t have to worry about contracting serious diseases from mosquitoes in our area because of these workers and the steps they take to protect us during these natural disasters.”
The Illinois Department of Health says mosquitoes and the diseases they spread have been responsible for killing more people than all the wars in history. Even today, mosquitoes transmitting malaria kill 2 million to 3 million people and infect another 200 million or more every year.
While most Americans don’t have to worry about contracting malaria from mosquitoes, there are other threats to be cognizant of: encephalitis, meningitis and other diseases can develop from the bites of mosquitoes infected with certain viruses. These include the viruses of West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, LaCrosse (California) encephalitis, and Eastern equine and Western equine encephalitis.