27 Indiana counties test positive for West Nile

Shelby Harrell

As of Aug. 6, a single human case of the West Nile Virus has been detected among the residents of Vanderburgh County.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health website, the West Nile Virus is a viral infection that, in a moderate to severe form, has been known to cause the tissues around the brain and spinal cord. The virus is transmitted to humans via receiving a bite from an infected mosquito.

However Megan Wade-Taxter, the Media Relations Coordinator for the agency, says there is very little to no reason for local residents to be alarmed.

“As of Aug. 8, there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus and no mosquito pools testing positive for the virus in Marshall County,” Taxter said.

Though southern regions might be more likely to facilitate the virus due to their more humid atmosphere and subsequently higher mosquito population, results from statewide samples collected by the agency have concluded that out of all 92 counties in Indiana, no single county is presented with any more significant risks than the others.

Regarding individuals, however, Taxter hopes to make citizens of Marshall County aware that this fact is not always true. After factoring in variables such as current health condition and age, research states that an individual’s probability of contracting the virus depends on the status of their established physical health. “People over 60 years of age as well as people with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and those who have received organ transplants are at a greater risk of developing more severe symptoms of the virus,” Taxter said.

In order for citizens to prevent themselves from contracting the virus, the ISDH recommends that residents make an attempt to avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active, applying an EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET as well as picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin, Covering exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, and installing or repairing screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of their homes.

The ISDH also reminds residents that a container as small as a bottle cap can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and that steps such as discarding old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots, or other containers that can hold water, repairing failed septic systems, drilling holes in the bottoms of recycling containers left outdoors, keeping grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed, cleaning clogged roof gutters, frequently replacing the water in pet bowls, ornamental fountains and birdbaths, and Aerating ornamental pools should be taken.