Jefferson County Health Department officials last week confirmed signs of the West Nile virus at the Hanover Wastewater Treatment facility. 

Tests on Madison's hilltop and in the Chelsea area returned negative results.

There have been no confirmed human West Nile cases anywhere in Indiana this year. It is difficult to predict the severity of the virus season as temperatures and rainfall determine that.

But it's best to be aware of the virus and to take precautions to avoid contact with mosquitoes.

The Indiana State Department of Health issues these warnings:

· If possible, avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times from dusk to dawn;

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

· Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home; and

· When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside.

West Nile virus usually causes a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some individuals can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological syndromes. A few may die from the infection.

Most of us enjoy being outdoors, whether that be in our own backyard, walking along the riverfront or hiking a trail. A few precautions will lesson your chances of exposing yourself to the virus.