INDIANAPOLIS -- Nearly 500 mosquitoes in 57 Indiana counties have tested positive for West Nile Virus this season, according to the Indiana Department of Health.
Out of those 57 counties, only four have reported human cases of West Nile Virus, including two people infected in Hamilton County.
The Indiana Department of Health keeps track of all mosquito and human infections online.
According to their map, 19 counties have reported five or more mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile Virus so far this year.
The most notable are Marion County with 92 infections and Hamilton County with 91. An additional 38 counties have reported between one and four mosquitos infected with West Nile Virus.
Across the state, 478 mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile.
The Indiana State Department of Health says Hoosiers should take extra precautions this fall. The recent rainfall is likely to create breeding grounds for mosquitos in areas that are susceptible to flooding.
Mosquitoes can breed in containers as small as a bottle cap, so people are advised to discard any tires, cans or pots that can hold water, and frequently replace water in pet bowls, among other precautions.
Those who may have been infected with the virus can have symptoms including:
- high fever
- severe headache
- neck stiffness
- muscle weakness or paralysis
- nausea, vomiting
- sore joints
Indiana health officials recommended taking the following measures to protect yourself:
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn and early morning)
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on 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
You can also protect your family and your community from mosquitos by:
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.
- Drilling holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left out of doors. Drainage holes that are located on the container sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed in.
- Keeping grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
- Disposing of old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other unused containers that can hold water. Do not overlook containers that have become overgrown by aquatic vegetation.
- Cleaning clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains. Roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
- Aerating ornamental pools, or stocking them with predatory fish. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
- Turning over plastic wading pools when not in use. A wading pool becomes a mosquito producer if it is not used on a regular basis.
- Turning over wheelbarrows and not allowing water to stagnate in birdbaths. Both provide breeding habitat for domestic mosquitoes.
- Cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family that goes on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
- Using landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes will develop in any puddle that lasts for more than four days.
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