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Evidence of West Nile virus reported in county

Evidence of West Nile virus reported in county Evidence of West Nile virus reported in county

Harrison County health officials report that a mosquito group has tested positive for the West Nile virus. This group was found in the Harrison County Fairgrounds area.

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 the following when mosquitoes are biting:

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

When outdoors, apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothes and exposed skin and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

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.

Individuals over age 50 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. 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.

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

For more information regarding mosquitoes, call the Harrison County Health Dept. at 812-738-3237.