INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials are urging Hoosiers to protect themselves from mosquito bites after they identified the first West Nile virus case of the year in a Lake County resident, as well as detection of the virus in mosquitoes in multiple counties.
As of Friday, a total of 83 mosquito pools tested positive for the virus and have been detected in Allen, Clark, Daviess, Elkhart, Floyd, Gibson, Hamilton, Jennings, Lake, Marion, Martin, Scott, Steuben, St. Joseph, Vanderburgh and Vigo counties.
“Mosquitoes are still active even in cooler fall weather,” said State Health Commissioner Kristina Box, M.D., FACOG. “Hoosiers in every county should take precautions against mosquito-borne diseases until the first hard freeze.”
The Indiana Dept. of Health says they expect to continue to see additional West Nile virus activity as the mosquito season progresses. Hoosiers should take proper precautions in order to reduce their risk of exposure. Those who live in northern Indiana should also be aware of ongoing increased risk for Eastern equine encephalitis.
State health officials are recommending the following measures to prevent mosquito-borne diseases:
- 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.
Hoosiers should take the following steps to eliminate potential breeding sites:
- Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water.
- Repair failed septic systems.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
- Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
- Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains.
- Frequently replace the water in pet bowls.
- Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically.
- Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.