Used tires are a breeding source for mosquitoes, providing an ideal "incubator" for mosquito eggs and larvae. Adult mosquitoes lay eggs in improperly discarded tires filled with rainwater and organic materials (leaves and grass). Over the course of one breeding season, hundreds of mosquitoes can be generated from just one tire.
West Nile Virus is a viral disease primarily spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. This virus can cause encephalitis, a swelling of the brain. Mosquitoes first become infected when they feed on birds that carry the virus. Once the mosquito is infected, it can spread the virus to people or other animals when it bites them. The house mosquito, the primary carrier of West Nile virus, breeds in water-filled tires, roadside ditches and street catch basins. More than 4,000 cases of West Nile disease, with more than 260 deaths, were recorded in the U.S. for 2002. Illinois had the highest number of reported cases and deaths in the country. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 62 fatalities and 877 non-fatal cases linked to the Illinois 2002 outbreak of West Nile Virus.
Proper management of used tires will help reduce the mosquito population in Illinois. These steps can help eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes:
Since 1989, the Illinois EPA Used Tire Program has cleaned up over 10 million used tires that were improperly discarded in Illinois. To report improperly discarded tires, please refer to the contact information found on the back of this fact sheet.
Todd Marvel, Manager
Tap Hefley or Greg Spencer, Used Tire Specialists
Used Tire Unit
Please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health for additional information about the West Nile Virus.