HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. -- The first two 2017 cases of West Nile virus in humans have been reported in Hamilton and Lake counties and state officials are urging Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves from getting bit by mosquitos.
In addition to those two cases, mosquitos in Morgan and Tippecanoe counties have also tested positive for the virus, although there have been no reports of humans contracting the disease so far in those counties.
“Unfortunately, West Nile disease is a common occurrence in Indiana during mosquito season,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “When we find evidence of the virus in multiple countries, that means the risk is starting to increase statewide. Protecting yourself from mosquito bites and eliminating breeding grounds are the best ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses.”
State health officials recommend the following steps to help prevent mosquito bites:
Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn and early morning).
Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin.
Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves, and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas.
Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some people will develop a more severe form of the disease affecting the nervous system, including inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis or death. People who think they may have West Nile virus should see a healthcare provider.