Source: The Corydon Democrat

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West Nile virus in Harrison County

September 24, 2013

Harrison County health officials report that two mosquito groups have tested positive for the West Nile virus. The groups were found in Harrison Township in the area of the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Corydon and in Spencer Township in the area of Milltown.

Danny Schroeder, senior environmental health specialist with the Harrison County Health Dept., stressed the importance of taking appropriate precautions to avoid mosquito bites and also stating that "there is no human vaccine and no cure for West Nile virus infection, but it can be prevented."

The HCHD recommends that residents do the following:

•Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, dawn to dusk, when possible.

•Apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothes and exposed skin and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors.

West Nile virus is transmitted to a human by mosquitoes that have first bitten an infected bird, Schroeder said. A person who is bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms from three to 15 days after the bite.

Individuals older than 50 are at the greatest risk for serious illness, including disabling neurological problems. However, health officials caution that people of all ages are at risk for infection and severe illness and should take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

The virus usually causes a milder form of illness, West Nile fever, which includes fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands and, sometimes, a rash.

The Culex mosquito, which is the primary carrier of the West Nile virus, breeds well when the weather is hot and dry. These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, like that found in clogged rain gutters, ditches, catch basins and unattended pools and bird baths.

Hundreds of mosquitoes can come from a small amount of water, like in a discarded tire or an unattended flowerpot, Schroeder said.

"We are urging residents to remove standing water from their property to avoid having mosquitoes breed around their homes," he said.

For more information, call the Harrison County Health Dept. at 738-3237.