(Ripley County, Ind.) - The potentially deadly West Nile Virus has been confirmed in Ripley County.
The Ripley County Health Department says two batches of Culex mosquitoes tested for the disease came back positive on Tuesday. West Nile virus is transmitted to a human by a mosquito that has first bitten an infected bird.
It’s the first case in the Eagle 99.3 listening area. West Nile had previously been detected in neighboring Jennings County.
Three to 15 days after contracting West Nile Virus, most people show mild or no symptoms. Mild cases of West Nile encephalitis may cause a slight fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, conjunctivitis (irritation of the eye), or headache. Patients with mild symptoms are likely to recover completely and do not require any specific medication or laboratory testing.
But some people may develop a more severe form of the disease. Those cases are marked by rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, coma or paralysis. In some individuals, West Nile can cause permanent neurological damage or death.
The Indiana State Department of Health provides the following advice on avoiding mosquito bites:
-When possible, avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite.
-Use an insect repellant containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide).
-Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
-Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
-Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
Residents can also reduce mosquito breeding by removing standing water in ponds, ditches, clogged rain gutters, flower pots, plant saucers, puddles, buckets, garden equipment and cans. Check for items that might hold water including barbecues, toys, pool covers, tarps, plastic sheeting, boats, canoes and trash. Mosquito eggs hatch within seven to 10 days.
Learn more about West Nile Virus and how to prevent its spread at http://www.in.gov/isdh/23599.htm.