Targeting mosquito larvae prior to their hatching, Lake Zurich is among several villages in Lake County that have contracted with the environmental service company Clarke to drop pellet treatments via helicopter on their wetlands this season. The agency speculated that West Nile’s transmission could be amplified thanks to limited water sources for both birds and mosquitoes. More than 800 Californians suffered West Nile virus.

The first two mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Lancaster County have been found earlier this month.

Most of the mosquitoes currently flying around are floodwater mosquitoes, Balis says, because they breed in larger, wetter overflow areas associated with the lake and wetlands. In 2014, there were 11 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in humans.

Mosquitoes breeding in the pools of water located in various parts of the National Capital Region monitored by the Army, Navy and Air Force serve as a canary in a coal mine when high levels of West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne viruses are present in the area.

The majority of people infected with West Nile are asymptomatic, but about 1 in 5 will have fevers, body pain, headaches, rashes, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the most extreme cases, symptoms include encephalitis or meningitis and can be fatal.

Maurice said West Nile is an endemic and it’s is not restricted to one area. Health officials recommend wearing socks, shoes, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when spending time outdoors.

Now, health experts have started partly blaming the state’s drought for the growing problem.

“The buckets and wheelbarrows that are left out collect water”, Balis said.

“It was an experience I don’t want anyone to go through”, Jaramillo said.