Indiana health officials say West Nile virus in 3 counties

("[Mosquito]" by [Tom], [Creative Commons])

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Mosquitoes in three of Indiana’s most populous counties have tested positive for West Nile virus, state health officials said Wednesday in urging Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves from the insect’s bites.

As of Aug. 6, mosquitoes in Allen (Fort Wayne), Marion (Indianapolis), and St. Joseph (South Bend) counties have tested positive for the virus, the Indiana State Department of Health said.

No human cases of West Nile virus disease in Indiana have been detected so far this year, it said.

In 2019, Indiana experienced an outbreak of another mosquito-borne disease, eastern equine encephalomyelitis. This outbreak caused one fatal human case, 14 cases in horses.

“While spending time outside can reduce your risk for COVID-19, it can increase your risk for mosquito-borne diseases,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said in a news release. “Hoosiers in all parts of the state should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites whenever they are outdoors.”

State health officials recommend the following preventive steps:

— 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.

— Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water and become potential mosquito breeding grounds.

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