The first Indiana case of West Nile virus disease this year has been identified in a Johnson County resident.
State health officials say people should protect themselves from mosquito bites. This comes after 225 mosquito samples from 60 counties in Indiana have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
“The risk of mosquito-borne disease remains through the first hard freeze, so it is important that Hoosiers take precautions against mosquito bites until then,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Lindsay Weaver. “Mosquito season is far from over, and simple prevention steps can help Hoosiers enjoy the outdoors without putting themselves at unnecessary risk.”
The virus can cause a fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some people may experience more severe symptoms that affect the nervous system, including inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis or even death.
Those who are older than 60 years are at higher risk of severe West Nile virus disease. People who think they contracted the disease should consult their health care provider.
Health officials say to protect yourself, you could apply an EPA-registered insect repellent, avoid outdoor areas where mosquitoes are active, and cover exposed skin when in wooded areas.
People should also look out for mosquito breeding sites. State health officials say that even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding site. People should take the following steps to eliminate them:
- 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.
Visit the Indiana Mosquito-Borne Activity Dashboard to see the latest updates on human cases and positive mosquito pools.