Health officials confirm human case of West Nile virus in Madison County

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MADISON COUNTY, Ind. (Aug. 21, 2015) — Health officials have confirmed a human case of West Nile virus in Madison County.

The Madison County Health Department is surveying the area around the patient’s home and looking for any potential breeding grounds. The department said there have been no confirmed West Nile-positive mosquitoes found through its testing program so far this summer. The department will spray targeted areas to contain the spread of the disease.

The actual source of the case remains a mystery. Dr. Stephen Wright with the Madison County Health Department said county residents should take precautions to reduce exposure to mosquitoes. State health officials issued a similar warning Tuesday, when the state’s first human case of West Nile in 2015 was confirmed in Huntington County.

Mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile in more than two dozen Indiana counties: Allen, Blackford, Boone, Clark, Clinton, Crawford, Delaware, Dubois, Elkhart, Floyd, Fulton, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Huntington, Marion, Marshall, Miami, Montgomery, Morgan, Orange, Perry, Ripley, Shelby, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Wabash and Wells.

State health officials urge Hoosiers to take measures to protect themselves against mosquitoes. Some of those measures include:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (late afternoon and dusk to dawn and early morning)
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home

West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, a mild form of the illness that can include symptoms like fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. In some cases it could develop into a more severe form with encephalitis or meningitis, leading to paralysis or death.

Hoosiers should take precautions to eliminate or 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
  • Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish

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