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West Nile virus confirmed in Henry Co.

The Henry County Health Department announced Tuesday that mosquitoes recently collected in Henry County have tested positive for West Nile virus.

This brings the total in Indiana to 369 West Nile positive mosquito pools thus far in 2018. There has been three confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus in Indiana this year. 

The Indiana State Department of Health and the Henry County Health Department trap mosquitoes throughout the state to monitor for disease transmission.

West Nile virus is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. In the United States, most people are infected from June through September.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, most people who get infected with West Nile virus will have either no symptoms or mild symptoms. A few individuals will have a more severe form of the disease, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord).

Health officials say that individuals over age 50 are at higher risk for serious illness.

There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus, and no vaccine is available for humans. In severe cases, intensive supportive therapy including intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support, prevention of secondary infections and good nursing care are indicated.

Culex mosquitoes are the known carriers of West Nile disease in Indiana, and the female Culex mosquito bites from evening to morning, especially at dusk and dawn. The risk for mosquito-borne disease will last until the first hard freeze, usually late October.

The Henry County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health would like to remind citizens to use caution when being active outside.

To help avoid mosquito-borne diseases and reduce mosquito populations, people should: 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.

The Henry County Health Department warns that even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding ground, so residents should take the following steps to eliminate potential breeding grounds: 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. 

For more information, visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at www.in.gov/isdh or contact the Henry County Health Department- Environmental Division by email at environmental@henryco.net or by phone at (765) 521-7059.