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West Nile Virus Detected in Indiana

State health officials are urging Hoosier to take necessary precautions after the West Nile virus was detected in Indiana for the first time in 2021.

Posted: Jul 20, 2021 10:42 AM
Updated: Jul 21, 2021 9:24 AM

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is asking residents of the Hoosier State to take proper precautions against mosquitos after the West Nile virus was detected in the state.

ISDH said Tuesday that a mosquito sample collected in Vigo County had tested positive for the West Nile virus.

With this new information, many residents like Robert Wilcox, don't know much about the virus or the potential dangers of it.

"I've heard its dangerous if you catch it." said Wilcox. 

Which is why ISDH is doing their part in spreading the word about the virus as it could travel throughout other parts of the state. 

As of now, ISDH says no human cases of West Nile virus have been detected in the state, though more West Nile virus activity is expected throughout the state as the mosquito season progresses.

State health officials recommend the following preventive measures:

  • 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.

With mosquitos able to transmit a variety of diseases, ISDH says Hoosiers should do their part to reduce and remove potential mosquito breeding grounds.

The state health department says that even a small amount of standing water can become a mosquito breeding ground.

ISDH is asking residents to take these steps to avoid potential breeding grounds:

  • 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. and,
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.

ISDH says that about 80% of people infected with West Nile virus will not develop any symptoms at all, but that about 20% will develop an illness accompanied by fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

The health department urges anyone who thinks they may have West Nile virus to contact their healthcare providers.

ISDH tracks the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in each county throughout the state. You can see the latest data tracked by the health department by clicking here.

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