The Journal Gazette
Thursday, September 02, 2021 3:31 pm

Verbatim: West Nile virus found in Steuben mosquitoes

The Journal Gazette

The Steuben County Health Department issued this news release today:

Mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus have been found once again in Steuben County, Indiana. One pool of mosquito groups collected in the northwestern region of Steuben County on 8/19/2021 by the Steuben County Health Department has tested positive for the West Nile virus. However, to date, there have been no reported human cases of West Nile virus in Steuben County.

Despite the cooling temperatures we have been experiencing at dawn and dusk, mosquitoes will remain active above 60 degrees, and the risk of biting is still present. The possibility of a human contracting West Nile virus will persist until the first hard freeze has occurred in our community.

State health officials recommend the following proactive 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 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:

  • 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 contracted West Nile virus should consult with a physician for testing and treatment.

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