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St. Joseph County warns of increased risk of West Nile virus

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The St. Joseph County Department of Health sent a release Friday afternoon, urging residents to be mindful of the threat of the West Nile virus.

According to the release, mosquitoes are still being trapped and testing positive for the West Nile Virus despite cooling temperatures. There have been 24 positive pools of mosquitoes identified in 2022, and more are expected. There have been 20 cases recorded in Elkhart County as well, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis have been found in lower Michigan.

Health advisors say there have been two documented human cases of the West Nile in other counties in Indiana this year, but there have been no human cases detected in St. Joseph County however, a St. Joseph County resident got the virus in 2021. Health officials say the West Nile Virus will persist until a hard freeze.

Signs and symptoms of the virus typically appear within 2-14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. A few symptoms may include headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Health officials say most people who get the virus recover completely, while others have persistent weakness and fatigue.

The St. Joseph County Department of Health encourages you to take the following steps to protect you and your
family from mosquitoes:
• Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times – dusk to dawn – when possible.
• Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or
para-methane-diol to clothes and exposed skin.
• Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are
especially active, such as wooded areas.
• Treat clothing and outdoor gear with 0.5% permethrin if camping or spending extended periods of time
• Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
• Reduce mosquito breeding on and around your property.