Health officials warn Hoosiers to take precautions after West Nile virus detected in Indiana – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather

Health officials warn Hoosiers to take precautions after West Nile virus detected in Indiana – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The West Nile virus has been detected for the first time this year in Indiana and health officials are warning Hoosiers to take precautions.

One mosquito sample collected in Vigo County tested positive for the virus, Indiana State Department of Health officials announced Tuesday. Health officials do expect to see more West Nile activity throughout Indiana as the mosquito season progresses.

“Many of us are looking forward to summer activities that were postponed or canceled last year, but we don’t want anyone to get sick from mosquito bites,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, in a press release sent to News 8. “Hoosiers in all parts of the state should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites whenever they are outdoors.”

Mosquitoes do not only transmit West Nile virus. In 2019 and 2020, outbreaks of eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) caused two human cases, one of those cases was fatal, according to ISDH.

ISDH is recommending Hoosiers take the following precautions to stay healthy:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn, and early morning);
  • Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin;
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas;
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home. 

Hoosiers should also do the following to prevent 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. 

ISDH reports about 80% of people who are infected with West Nile virus will not show symptoms and about 20% will get sick and experience a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, diarrhea or rash.

Less than 1% of people infected with the virus will develop severe illness, ISDH said; about one in 10 severe cases can be fatal.

If you believe you have contracted West Nile virus or EEE you should contact your doctor.

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Mark Graham

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