Those clouds of mosquitoes you ran from early this summer have faded a bit. But the mosquitoes that remain could prove to be the most dangerous. That's because they could be carrying the deadly West Nile virus.

Late summer and early fall are the prime time for the Culex breeds of mosquitoes. They are most likely to be the carriers of West Nile. The virus, which can cause fevers and brain swelling, is carried by crows, blue jays and other birds. The Culex mosquitoes bite those birds, and then bite humans, transmitting the disease in the process. 16 Iowans have fallen sick this year with West Nile, and the virus has killed two people.

If you're wondering if the recent rains and standing water will make the situation worse, it actually won't. Culex mosquitoes don't need large pools of water to breed like other species do. The virus is so dangerous because most people who are infected show few symptoms. Some may spike a fever and feel aches and pains, but they rarely go to the doctor. People with low immune systems are at the highest risk of contracting the virus.


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