(Ohio County, Ind.) – The West Nile Virus has been confirmed in a batch of mosquitoes in Ohio County.
The Ohio County Health Department says mosquitoes trapped there have tested positive for the disease by the Indiana State Department of Health.
The announcement comes on the same day Indiana had its first death from West Nile. It occurred in Vanderburgh County in the Evansville area.
As of Thursday, seven human cases have been confirmed in 2012 in Fulton, Hamilton, Jackson, Monroe, Marion, and Vanderburgh counties. West Nile Virus first appeared in Indiana in 2002. Eleven people died of the illness that year.
“Because this virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes, we are all susceptible to it,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin. “The tragic death we’ve recently experienced serves as a reminder of just how important it is to take steps to protect ourselves from mosquitoes, both indoors and outdoors.”
For humans a milder form of the illness can include symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some individuals will develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other severe syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.
Residents in Ohio County and elsewhere are asked to take steps to stop the spread of the disease.
“Anything that will hold water for five days can produce mosquitoes. They like shady places protected from the wind. The more stagnant the water, the better they like it,” said Earl Ketenbrink with the Ohio County Health Department.
Here are more tips from the Indiana State Department of Health on preventing the spread of West Nile Virus:
-Avoid places where mosquitoes are biting;
-Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin;
-Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home; and,
-When possible, wear pants and long sleeves, especially if walking in wooded or marshy areas.
To 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; and,
-Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.