State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.
In past years, West Nile virus has been found throughout the state.
"It’s the time of year when we are at greater risk for West Nile virus infection,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D.
He says there are many ways for people to protect themselves.
Here are some simple and effective precautions to take:
If possible, avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, especially late afternoon and dusk to dawn and early morning;
Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 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; and,
When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside.
Dr. VanNess is also asking Hoosiers to take steps to rid their properties of potential mosquito breeding grounds:
Discard old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, 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; and,
Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop any symptoms.
Health officials say that individuals over age 50 are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile virus.
To visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website, go to www.StateHealth.in.gov. For important health and safety tips, follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.
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