Two human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Porter County,
according to the Indiana State Department of Health.
The two cases involved a Valparaiso resident and Hebron area resident, the
Porter County Health Department said. The Valparaiso resident has nearly
fully recovered. No information on the condition of the Hebron resident was
Porter County has had cases of positive mosquitoes for about 10 years, with
several human cases over the years.
To date in Indiana this year, mosquito groups in 47 counties have tested
positive for the virus.
Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Public Health recently reported the
first West Nile virus-related death in Illinois for 2010.
“This is the time of the year when we normally see the most cases of West
Nile virus,” said Dr. Jennifer House, veterinary epidemiologist at the
Indiana State Department of Health. “Mosquitoes will remain infected and
capable of transmitting West Nile virus until they die. Mosquitoes will not
die until we have a good hard freeze. In the meantime, they are capable of
biting, so repellents should be used.”
House says the West Nile virus usually causes West Nile fever, a milder form
of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph
glands, or a rash. However, a small number of individuals will develop a
more severe form of the disease with encephalitis, meningitis, or other
neurological syndromes. Although anyone can get West Nile virus, people over
50 are at greater risk for becoming seriously ill or even dying.
Homeowners should take the following steps: Installing or repairing screens
on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home; discarding old
tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other containers that
can hold water; repairing failed septic systems; drilling holes in the
bottom of recycling containers left outdoors; keeping grass cut short and
shrubbery trimmed; cleaning clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves
tend to plug up the drains; frequently replacing the water in pet bowls;
flushing ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically; and aerating
ornamental pools, or stocking them with predatory fish.
“There is no cure for West Nile virus and no human vaccine, but it is
preventable,” House said.
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