INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana state health officials are urging Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites after West Nile virus (WNV) was detected in mosquitoes for the first time this year.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, a mosquito sample collected in Clinton County has tested positive for WNV. No human cases of WNV have been detected this year.
The IDOH expects WNV activity to continue across the state during mosquito season, which continues through the first hard freeze.
“With warm temperatures already here, people are spending more time outside. Taking a few precautions to avoid mosquito bites can help ensure Hoosiers enjoy outdoor activities safely,” State Health Commissioner Lindsay Weaver said.
State health officials say even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding ground, so residents should take the following steps to eliminate potential breeding grounds:
- Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water.
- Each week, empty and scrub items that hold water such as birdbaths, toys, pools and flowerpot saucers.
- 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.
- Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.
State health officials recommend the following personal protective measures:
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially during evening hours, from dusk to dawn, and in the 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 long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded and shady areas.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
According to IDOH, about 80% of people infected with WNV virus will not develop any symptoms. 20% of people infected will develop an illness accompanied by a fever, headache, body aches, vomiting and joint pains.
People who think they may have WNV should contact their healthcare provider.
For more information, visit www.health.in.gov.