A few cases West Nile virus in humans have popped up in Indiana and state health officials are urging Hoosiers to be careful.
As of June 14, two cases of the virus have been documented in Hamilton and Lake counties but mosquitoes in Morgan and Tippecanoe counties have tested positive for West Nile. As the mosquito season progresses, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) expect to see increased West Nile activity across the state. According to State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, the West Nile disease is a common occurrence in the state during mosquito season. Finding evidence of the virus in multiple counties suggests the risk is beginning to increase statewide.
To protect yourself from mosquito bites and eliminate potential breeding grounds in your area, state health officials suggest taking preventative action such as:
- Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active (particularly late afternoon, dusk to dawn, and early morning)
- Apply EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin
- Cover exposed skin when in places mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home
- Discard old tires, ceramic pots, and other containers that can retain water
- Keep grass cut short
- Frequently replace the water in pet bowls
West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or rash. A more severe form of the disease can include inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis, and death. People who think they may have West Nile virus should see a healthcare provider.