Mosquitoes in Marion Co. test positive for West Nile virus

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—The Marion County Public Health Department announced Thursday mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have been found in Marion County.

Health officials said the sample of mosquitoes tested came from a trap in Perry Township. Several traps are located throughout the county to monitor the local mosquito population and test for the virus.

Marion County Mosquito Control officials said West Nile virus is typically first detected in mosquitoes in July, but has occurred a little later than normal this year. No human cases have been reported in the county in 2013.

Two people in Marion County died from West Nile virus in 2012. Since 2002, Marion County has reported seven deaths from West Nile virus and more than 60 human cases.

State health officials recommend the following preventative measures:

  • Avoid places where mosquitoes are biting;
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin;
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home; and,
  • When possible, wear pants and long sleeves, especially if walking in wooded or marshy areas.

West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, a mild form of the 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.

The health department said there are several steps you can take to temper the mosquito population:

  • 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.

Individuals who think they may have West Nile virus should see their health care provider.

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