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Indiana health officials confirm first human case of West Nile virus in Porter Co.

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 8, 2014)– Indiana health officials announced Friday the first human case of West Nile virus has been reported in Porter County.

The Indiana State Department of Health said mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus in 18 counties, including Allen, DeKalb, Delaware, Dubois, Greene, Hamilton, Howard, Jefferson, LaGrange, Lake, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Pike, Rush, Steuben, Sullivan and Vanderburgh.

“This is the time of the year when Hoosiers are at a risk of getting West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne viruses,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “You can prevent these diseases by taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites.”

West Nile virus can cause a mild form of illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some individuals will develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other severe syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.

To reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds, health officials recommend the following:

  • 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.