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First West Nile virus case of 2023 reported in Indiana

(Steffen Kugler/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana’s first West Nile virus case of 2023 was reported in a Johnson County resident, state health officials say.

The person has not been identified, and his or her condition is unknown.

The Indiana Department of Health officials are urging Hoosiers to protect themselves from mosquito bites following the first West Nile virus case of the year.

State health officials warn that there have been multiple detections of the virus in mosquitoes across Indiana.

So far, 225 mosquito samples from 60 counties have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

“The risk of mosquito-borne disease remains through the first hard freeze, so it is important that Hoosiers take precautions against mosquito bites until then,” said State Health Commissioner Lindsay Weaver in a release. “Mosquito season is far from over, and simple prevention steps can help Hoosiers enjoy the outdoors without putting themselves at unnecessary risk.”

West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, which includes the following symptoms: fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash. Some people may develop a more severe form of the disease affecting the nervous system, including inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis, or even death.

Anyone who believes they may have West Nile virus disease should see their healthcare providers.

State health officials recommend the following tips to help prevent mosquito-borne diseases:

  • Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-Undecanone to clothes and exposed skin;
  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially early morning, late afternoon, and the hours between dusk and dawn);
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves, and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas;
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home. 

IDOH says that even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding site. Below are the following steps to help eliminate them:

  • Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots, or other containers that can hold water;
  • Repair failed septic systems;
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed;
  • Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains;
  • Frequently replace the water in pet bowls;
  • Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically; and,
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish. 

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