Health officials have announced that four human cases of West Nile virus statewide, with cases reported in Hamilton, Marion, and Jackson counties. While no cases have been confirmed in LaPorte, Starke, Marshall, Pulaski, or other nearby counties, Hoosiers are still encouraged to take steps to protect themselves from West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne viruses. Transmission of the virus within the mosquito population is currently much higher than in previous years: so far in 2012, mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found in 62 Indiana counties.
State health officials recommend Hoosiers 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.
West Nile virus usually causes West Nile fever, a milder form of the illness. Symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nods or a rash, and some individuals will develop a more severe form of the disease with symptoms ranging from encephalitis or meningitis to flaccid muscle paralysis.
The state health department says to cut down on potential mosquito breeding grounds, discard old tires, tin cans, 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 clean clogged roof gutters.