Health officials report first human case of West Nile for 2013 in Marion Co.

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— Health officials with the Marion County Public Health Department reported Friday the county’s first human case of West Nile virus for 2013. 

Eleven human cases have now been reported in Indiana this year, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

In 2012, Marion County reported 12 human cases of West Nile virus and two deaths related to the virus. More than 30 Hoosiers have died from the illness, including eight in 2012, since Indiana had its first human case of West Nile virus in 2002.

Officials said the mosquito population continues to decrease as normal, but mosquitoes infected with the virus will remain active until the first hard freeze.

“As long as mosquitoes are still biting, everyone should take the necessary steps to protect themselves,” said Chuck Dulla, administrator of the Marion County Public Health Department Mosquito Control program.

Symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, body aches, fatigue and back pain. Sufferers can also display a skin rash, have swollen lymph glands and experience eye pain.  If left untreated, West Nile can affect the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This can cause coma, partial paralysis or even death.

The best way to stay protected is by following the four Ds of mosquito control:

  • DUSK – Stay indoors from dusk until dawn.
  • DRESS – Wear long sleeves and long pants when outside during these times.
  • DEET – Use insect repellent containing DEET.
  • DRAINAGE – Remove all standing water outside the home.

Marion County residents with mosquito questions are encouraged to contact Marion County Mosquito Control at 317-221-7440.