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Evidence of West Nile in Harrison County

Harrison County health officials report that a mosquito group has tested positive for the West Nile virus. This group was found in Harrison Township in the area of the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Corydon.
Danny Schroeder, senior environmental health specialist with the Harrison County Health Dept., stresses the importance of taking appropriate precautions to avoid mosquito bites and also states that there is no human vaccine and no cure for West Nile virus infection, but it can be prevented.
Take the following steps to protect you and your family from mosquitoes:
‘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.
‘When possible, wear pants and long sleeves, especially if walking in wooded or marshy areas.
West Nile virus is transmitted to a human by a mosquito that has first bitten an infected bird. A person who is bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms from three to 15 days after the bite.
State health officials have confirmed the first death in Indiana this year due to West Nile virus. At least seven cases of the virus have been reported so far in 2012.
Individuals age 50 and older are at the greatest risk for serious illness, including disabling neurological problems.
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,’ Schroeder said. ‘These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, like that which can be 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.
‘We are urging residents to remove standing water from their property to avoid having mosquitoes breed around their homes,’ Schroeder said.
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.
‘Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.
For more information regarding mosquitoes, call the Harrison County Health Dept. at 738-3237.