First human cases of West Nile virus for 2017 reported in Lake, Hamilton counties
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Officials announced Friday the first 2017 cases of West Nile virus in humans for the state occurred in Lake and Hamilton counties.
Indiana residents are being urged to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
As of June 14, two human cases of the virus have been documented. Additionally, mosquitoes in Morgan and Tippecanoe counties have tested positive for West Nile.
Indiana health officials expect to see increased West Nile activity as the season progresses.
“Unfortunately, West Nile disease is a common occurrence in Indiana during mosquito season,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “When we find evidence of the virus in multiple counties, that means the risk is starting to increase statewide. Protecting yourself from mosquito bites and eliminating breeding grounds are the best ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses.”
The Indiana State Health Department provided the following tips:
- 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.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a breeding ground, according to officials. Residents should take these steps:
- 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.
West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some people will develop a more severe form of the disease affecting the nervous system, including inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis or death. People who think they may have West Nile virus should see a healthcare provider.