Health officials continue to encourage Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves from West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases after mosquito samples from 35 counties have now tested positive for the virus. There has been one human case of West Nile virus in Ripley County and one equine case in Adams County.
LaGrange County has found West Nile virus in mosquito samples. Noble County has also seen positive tests for the virus in mosquito samples.
Other counties with West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes include: Adams, Allen, Carroll, Clinton, Daviess, Delaware, DeKalb, Grant, Hamilton, Jay, Jefferson, Knox, Kosciusko, Lake, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Ohio, Parke, Steuben, Sullivan, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Starke, St. Joseph, Vanderburgh, Vigo, White and Whitley.
The Indiana State Department of Health has collected and tested nearly 120,000 mosquitoes from all 92 counties for West Nile virus and Saint Louis encephalitis. There have been no positive findings for Saint Louis encephalitis at this time.
State health officials recommend the following preventative measures:
· Avoid places where mosquitoes are biting;
· Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin;
· Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home;
· When possible, wear pants and long sleeves, especially if walking in wooded or marshy areas.
West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some individuals will develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other severe syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.
To reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds:
· Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water;
· Repair failed septic systems;
· Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;
· Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed;
· Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains;
· Frequently replace the water in pet bowls;
· Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically;
· Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.
Individuals who think they may have West Nile virus should see their health care provider.