INDIANAPOLIS — The Marion County Public Health Department reported on Tuesday that the first mosquitoes of the season in Marion County have tested positive for the West Nile virus. On Monday, two other Indiana counties reported their mosquitoes to have tested positive for West Nile, as well.
Although two human cases of West Nile were reported in Marion County in 2018, none have been reported thus far in 2019.
The Marion County Health Department is asking residents to follow the four D's to help prevent bites and reduce the mosquito population:
- DUSK – Stay indoors from dusk until dawn. If you do spend time outdoors.
- DRESS – Wear long sleeves and long pants when outside during these times.
- DEET – Use insect repellent containing DEET or other EPA-approved active ingredients.
- DRAINAGE – Remove all standing water outside the home.
The health department is encouraging everyone to remove any standing water from their home of property, as that is where mosquitoes most like to breed.
"Residents should empty water from containers of any size and flush out bird baths every week," The Marion County Health Department said. "Plus, check for standing water in unused tires, clogged gutters, small recreational pools, and from poorly operating septic systems."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. Less than one percent of those infected will develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease, are at higher risk experiencing symptoms, which include headache, body aches, joint pains or rash.
The health department collects mosquitoes from traps placed in areas throughout the county to monitor the population and test for West Nile.