(Undated) – Health officials have known that the West Nile Virus has existed in mosquitoes in Indiana and Ohio for weeks, but now more humans are contracting the disease.
Two human cases of the illness were confirmed in western Hamilton County, Ohio on Wednesday, the Hamilton County Health Department announced.
Now, the Indiana State Department of Health has reported 10 human cases in the Hoosier state. They have been identified in Allen, Fulton, Hamilton, Hancock, Jackson, Monroe, Marion, Tippecanoe and Vanderburgh counties.
Mosquitoes carrying West Nile have been found in 67 Indiana counties, including Ripley and Ohio counties. That’s compared to 34 counties in all of 2011.
“Nationally, we are being hit harder than ever before, especially in some of the southern states like Texas,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Gregory Larkin. “Here in Indiana we are seeing more counties earlier in the year with positive mosquito pools, meaning a greater risk to Hoosiers.
This year has been the worst West Nile outbreak in the U.S., with 41 deaths reported nationwide.
Hoosiers can protect themselves is to eliminate areas where mosquitoes breed. Dump wading pools, bird baths, buckets and be sure to clean your gutters and discard any debris in your yard.
More information on the West Nile Virus, including symptoms and prevention tips, can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.