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Experts share tips on how to keep safe from mosquitoes and ticks

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Health officials are urging Hoosiers to protect themselves against mosquitoes and ticks, and right now is peak season.

Catherine Hill, the head of the Department of Entomology at Purdue University, said mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and typically stay close to their development site. They like to hang around containers with small amounts of water, such as bottle caps.

Hill says people are at the most significant risk of getting bitten through the beginning of fall. With the West Nile Virus already detected in several areas across the state, she says now is the time to be on guard.

Indiana Department of Health says people infected with West Nile Virus do not typically develop symptoms. Still, some people develop fever and severe inflammation of the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the nervous system. People older than 60 and those with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable and at the greatest risk of severe illness.

In addition to West Nile, the state health department reports four other commonly known diseases that mosquitoes spread: Eastern Equine Encephalitis, La Crosse Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and California serogroup viruses.

Hill advises people to remove standing water sources from their yards to eliminate potential breeding grounds, like dog bowls and bird baths. She says experts are seeing a shift in when mosquitoes and ticks appear.

“We are seeing a number of introduced or invasive species threats. Several examples of mosquitoes have been introduced to the United States. And there are certainly some examples of ticks that have recently been introduced,” Hill said.

Hill says ticks can also migrate from wooded areas into yards. Regularly mowing the lawn can help reduce the chances of ticks moving closer to houses.