Monroe County Health Department detects mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus

[FILE] A generic photograph of mosquitos.

[FILE] A generic photograph of mosquitos.

MONROE COUNTY, Ind. – Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus have been detected in Monroe County.

The Monroe County Health Department detected the mosquitoes on their mosquito surveillance program, and samples collected and sent recently to the Indiana State Department of Health laboratory tested positive for the virus.

“You can help protect your family and your community from West Nile Virus by eliminating areas of standing water available for mosquito breeding in or near your property,” said Environmental Health Specialist Simeon Baker, who manages Monroe County’s mosquito surveillance program.

Baker says mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus breed in places like ditches, open septic systems, discarded tires, birdbaths, unused wading pools, untended swimming pools and swimming pool covers, clogged roof gutters and any unused containers that hold water for days at a time.

A person who is bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms from 3 to 15 days after the bite. Most people who get infected with West Nile Virus will have either no symptoms or mild symptoms.

Some individuals may have more severe symptoms including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord).

Health officials say if you develop the following symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately:

  • high fever,
  • severe headache,
  • neck stiffness,
  • muscle weakness or paralysis,
  • nausea or vomiting,
  • sore joints, or
  • confusion.

Baker says that people can protect themselves from mosquitoes by:

  • avoiding places and times when mosquitoes bite
  • using an insect repellant containing DEET
  • wearing shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or from dusk to dawn
  • choosing clothes that are light colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin
  • making sure that all windows and doors have screens and that all screens are in good repair
  • using mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure

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