Chesterton Tribune



West Nile virus found again in county

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The Porter County Health Department (PCHD) is reporting that a mosquito pool has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first positive finding this year in the county.

The PCHD did not say where the pool is located but noted that there have been positive mosquito pools in the county since 2000.

“WE could see human cases of West Nile virus this year, Porter County Health Officer Maria Stamp, M.D., said in a statement released last week. “There is already evidence of West Nile virus activity throughout the state.”

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes which have first bitten an infected bird. A person bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms three to 15 days after the bite.

“The virus usually results in a mild illness know as West Nile fever, which can cause fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash,” the statement said. “However, a small number of individuals can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological symptoms, including flaccid muscle paralysis.”

“In previous years, most human cases of West Nile virus were reported between mid-July and mid-September,” Stamp said.

The PCHD is urging folks to take the following precautions when they are outdoors:

* Avoid being outside during prime mosquito biting times, dusk to dawn.

* Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin.

* Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers.

Folks should also take steps to rid their properties of potential mosquito breeding grounds:

* Repair failed septic systems.

* Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers which are left outdoors.

* Keep the grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.

* Dispose of old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or other unused containers which can hold water.

* Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves are plugging the drains.

* Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.

Although persons aged 50 and over are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile virus, people of all ages have been infected with the virus and have had severe disease, the statement said.


Posted 9/9/2013