Delaware County Health Department sends message to residents concerned about West Nile

DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. — After two confirmed deaths because of West Nile Virus in Indiana, some residents are concerned about where the victims contracted the deadly infection.

The Indiana State Department of Health confirms one death in Allen County and one death in Delaware County, so far this year. The health department will not confirm the names of those who died, or specifically where the live, and many residents want to know why.

“I’m curious if he went anywhere. Did he travel out of state and then come back and then get sick?” asked Stacy Willis, a Muncie resident.

The Delaware County Health Department took to its Facebook Page to address concerns from residents:

“Having a case of West Nile Virus occurring near you does not necessarily mean you are at a higher risk for contracting West Nile as someone across town, or even someone in another city. Everyone, regardless of location, regardless of proximity to dead birds, regardless of proximity to the home of someone who has West Nile, should be taking the same precautions in order to avoid the risk of getting sick from West Nile or any other mosquito related disease. This was true years ago, it is true today, and it will be true every year going forward.”

Many residents said the news of this death has made them even more vigilant about taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.

“Before we didn’t really put on bug spray or anything because of all the harsh chemicals in it, but now when we go outside, I’m like loading the kids up and myself,” Willis said.

Delaware County Health Department Administrator Jammie Bane said this in response to anyone concerned about living in a county where someone died from the virus:

“Mosquitoes do not adhere to political boundaries.  We have had mosquitoes test positive at other locations within our county, and they have tested positive in a significant number of counties throughout our state.  Mosquitoes have tested positive for WNV throughout Indiana for a number of years now.  This trend will not change.  Everyone in the state of Indiana should be taking the same precautions against mosquitoes, every day of the mosquito season, every year.  While any loss of human life is unfortunate, a death or a human WNV diagnosis does not warrant an increase in caution.  Why?  Because we should all be as cautious as possible already and taking the “mosquito smart” steps available to us:  Reduce breeding sites, avoid mosquitoes, dress to protect yourself from their bites, and wear insect repellent.”

For more on the West Nile Virus and ways you can protect you and your family, click here.