On Thursday, the Indiana State Health Department officials notified the Marshall County Health Department that pools of West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes have been found in Marshall County. The county health department is asking residents to take steps to protect themselves.
West Nile virus is transmitted to a human by a mosquito that has first bitten an infected bird. A person who is bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms 3 to 15 days after the bite.
“In order to protect yourself and your family, if possible, avoid outdoor areas during peak mosquito biting times, dusk to dawn,” said James Howell, DVM veterinary epidemiologist, State Department of Health. “In previous years, West Nile cases reported outdoor activities around their homes as likely sources of their mosquito exposures, like gardening, mowing, or just sitting on the porch. This is expected since the culex mosquito is an urban dweller and readily multiplies around our homes.”
The Marshall County Health Department is urging people to protect themselves by:
*Applying insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposure to skin.
*Wearing shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors from dusk to dawn.
*Making sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
*Using mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
Culex mosquitoes, which carry the virus, breed in places like ditches, open septic systems, discarded tires, and unused wading pools. Even a small bucket with stagnant water in it can become home to up to 1,000 mosquitoes.
You can also protect your family and your community from biting mosquitoes by:
*Eliminating areas of standing water available for mosquito breeding in or near your property.
*Repairing failed septic systems.
*Keeping grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
*Disposing of old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or other unused containers.
*Cleaning clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains.
*Turning over plastic wading pools when not in use.
*Turning over wheelbarrows and not allowing water to stagnate in birdbaths.
*Cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools that are not being used.
There is no specific treatment for WNV. See your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness or paralysis, nausea, vomiting, sore joints, or confusion.
For more information on WNV, visit www.statehealth.in.gov/ .