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Health Mind & Body
West Nile virus has arrived early in the state
Saturday, June 22, 2013 5:00 AM
State health officials have confirmed the first signs of the West Nile virus activity in Indiana. Mosquitoes in Adams County tested positive for West Nile virus last week.
The detection of West Nile virus is earlier than normal for the state, which typically holds off until mid-summer.
West Nile virus is commonly found in the summer and there will likely be an increase in activity in additional counties as the season progresses.
Last year, West Nile virus was found in mosquitoes in every county except Crawford County. It is impossible to predict the severity of this year's West Nile virus season as future 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.
More than 30 Hoosiers have died from the illness, including eight in 2012, since Indiana had its first human case of West Nile virus in 2002.
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.
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