Recent heavy rain contributed to presence of West Nile virus in central Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A deadly virus has been detected in central Indiana insects. Officials in both Marion and Hamilton counties say a recent pool of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus. In 2018, there was one death in Marion County related to West Nile.

Officials say the recent rainfall is the biggest contributing factor.

“Whenever you get rain and then we’ve also had a lot of warm days, those two factors come together and equal a lot of mosquitoes. So we’ve had this big boom of mosquitoes lately in the community and people are noticing that,” said Matt Sinsko, Marion County Health Department Mosquito Control Program Coordinator.

In Marion County, the virus was detected in Decatur and Pike townships. Sinsko says it’s not unusual mosquitoes test positive this early in the season, but they are seeing those positive results a few weeks earlier than what’s expected.

“We totally expect as the summer progresses, we’re going to find more West Nile-positive pools. And it’s certain to pop up in every township. It just happens to be those two this time, tomorrow it can be another one,” said Sinsko.

The pesky bugs are already causing some residents to call mosquito control companies to protect their properties. Their job is to provide residual control to eliminate and prevent eggs from hatching.

“We really focus on vigilance and just teaching our customers not only ways that we treat their property which is by spraying the plants, the full edge, the vegetation. Those are the areas where mosquitoes tend to breed, feed and harbor,” said Capricia Turner, greater Indy Mosquito Squad.

But there are simple steps you can take as a homeowner. Experts say to make sure there isn’t any standing water surrounding your home. Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It only takes a cap of water for a mosquito to lay 300 eggs.

The health department says they will continue to place traps around the two counties to monitor the virus weekly. For now, they’re asking people to follow simple steps to protect themselves.

“Avoiding those mosquito bites is your best prevention from getting a mosquito-borne illness,” said Sinsko.

Experts say personal protection is the best protection. That means insect repellent that has an EPA approved active ingredient, long sleeves, and dark clothing. If you have a problem with mosquitoes around your home, just call the health department.

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