Health officials have investigated four human cases of West Nile virus statewide. Cases have been identified in Hamilton, Marion and Jackson counties. Hoosiers are encouraged to take steps to protect themselves from West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. West Nile transmission within the mosquito population is currently much higher than in previous years. So far in 2012 mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found in 62 Indiana counties.
State health officials recommend:
• 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; and,
• When possible, wear pants and long sleeves, especially if walking in wooded or marshy areas.
West Nile virus usually causes West Nile fever, a milder 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; and,
• Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.
Individuals who think they may have West Nile virus should see their healthcare provider. For more information about mosquito safety, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at www.StateHealth.IN.gov .