The Indiana State Department of Health encourages the following protective steps:
•Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times from dusk to dawn, when possible
•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 long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside
For more information, go to the website at: www.
llencountyhealth.com or call 449-7459.
Mosquitoes in Orange County tested positive for West Nile virus, and state health officials said Thursday that this year’s positive test results are considerably earlier than the first such mosquitoes found in the state last year in mid-July.
Normally, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health begins trapping and testing mosquitoes throughout the county in early July, said Dave Fiess at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.
But the department’s four seasonal technicians will probably begin to spot-test in various areas of the county as early as next week, Fiess said.
While the weather has been unusually dry and hot, the culex mosquito, the primary carrier of West Nile virus and a possible carrier of Eastern equine encephalitis, thrives in that type of climate, Fiess said.
Even though there is not a lot of standing water to provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes, the culex mosquito loves the hot, dry weather, Fiess said.
“They can still breed wherever they can find a spot such as old tires, birdbaths and ditches,” Fiess said.
One technician is responsible for setting the traps nightly Monday through Thursday at various sites in Allen County, Fiess said. The staff then identifies the mosquitoes, and tests are done to see whether any test positive for West Nile virus, Fiess said.
The dry weather may give some people a false sense of security, Fiess said.
“We had our first case of West Nile in 2002 during similar hot and dry conditions,” he said.
The health department announced last month it will no longer routinely spray for mosquitoes.
More than 20 Hoosiers have died from West Nile, including one in 2011, since Indiana had its first human case of West Nile virus in 2002. Last year, West Nile virus was found in mosquitoes in 34 Indiana counties.
Mosquitoes can spread several different disease-causing viruses, including West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, and La Crosse encephalitis.
Symptoms for West Nile or encephalitis can include headache, fever, dizziness or fatigue, but severe neurological symptoms, coma and even death can occur.