West Nile virus has been diagnosed in twelve people in Indiana so far this year, including two who have died. That’s an increase over last year when only 10 people got the virus, but state health officials says there are some steps you can take to protect yourself.
These include applying insect repellent to your clothes and skin, and installing or repairing the screens on your windows and doors to make sure mosquitoes stay out of your home. They also say to avoid places where mosquitoes are biting, but if you can’t do that, where pants and long sleeves, especially in wooded or marshy areas. You can also help control the number of mosquitoes by getting rid of areas where water can pool, repairing septic systems that aren’t working, cleaning clogged gutters, and trimming grass and bushes.
So far this year, West Nile virus has been found in mosquitoes in 69 Indiana counties, including Marshall and Fulton. Health officials say most people who are infected won’t have any symptoms, and those who do typically experience fever, head and body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash. A small number develop a more severe version of the disease that can lead to encephalitis, meningitis, flaccid muscle paralysis, or death.
The State Department of Health says mosquito activity usually goes down when the temperature drops below 60 degrees, but people are still at risk of getting bitten until there’s a hard freeze.
They say if you think you might have the virus, you should see your health care provider.