Indiana State Department of Health issues warning over West Nile virus

Updated: Jul. 2, 2019 at 7:42 AM EDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Indiana State Department Health is putting out a statewide warning for Hoosiers.

The ISDH says they found West Nile virus in two Indiana counties and say it could spread as the summer goes on.

According to the ISDH, mosquitoes with West Nile virus were found in Elkhart and Clark Counties. Elkhart is in Northern Indiana, while Clark is in Southeastern Indiana.

The Department of Health says their big concern is the potential for spread as the summer months go on.

Officials say that they say see people get sick from mosquito bites every single year, so when they see a virus like this appear in more than one county, on opposite ends of the state, and they know the risk for a statewide spread is increasing.

In a press release, the ISDH gave guidelines to keep you and your family safe in during mosquito season:

  • 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.

According to the health department, mosquitoes can breed anywhere that there is standing water, even somewhere as small as a bottle cap.

To combat this, the ISDH recommends getting rid of or cleaning possible 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;
  • Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.

The health department says if you or someone you know think they might have West Nile, they should go see their doctor.

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