Indiana Daily Student

West Nile Virus found in Monroe County mosquitos

Mosquitos in Monroe County tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Monroe County Health Department. 

The health department recommends residents remove areas of standing water from their property to protect their family and community from the disease. 

Mosquitos that carry West Nile Virus tend to breed in ditches, open septic systems, birdbaths, discarded tires, swimming pool covers, clogged roof gutters and any containers that hold water for days at a time, according to the health department. 

Symptoms may show up within three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. A person infected with the West Nile Virus may have a high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness or paralysis, nausea, vomiting, sore joints and or confusion. 

Only 20% of those infected with West Nile Virus show symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those over 60 and or with existing conditions such as cancer and diabetes are at increased risk of developing a serious illness. 

West Nile Virus does not spread from person to person like other viruses. It is contracted though a mosquito bite. In rare cases, it can spread through a blood transfusion or from mother to baby during pregnancy or breast feeding. 

The Monroe County Health Department recommends people avoid being outdoors from late afternoon to early morning when mosquitoes are most active. 

They also recommend applying an insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin to all areas of clothes and exposed skin. 

There are no vaccines or specific medicines for West Nile Virus, but the CDC suggests using over-the-counter pain relievers to relieve symptoms. 

Last year, Indiana had 12 reported cases of West Nile Virus and one death. In 2022, there have been 98 cases and six deaths nationally, according to the CDC

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