Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Human cases of West Nile reported in Porter County

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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 available.

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.

For updates on this and other public health issues, see www.statehealth.IN.gov

 

Posted 9/24/2010

 

 

 

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