Health Officials Urge Precautions Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases as West Nile Virus Activity Is Detected

State health officials are urging Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites after the West Nile virus was detected in Indiana for the first time this year.
So far in 2021, one mosquito sample collected in Vigo County has tested positive for West Nile virus.
No human cases of West Nile virus disease have been detected so far this year; however, the Indiana Department of Health expects to see further West Nile activity throughout the state as the mosquito season progresses.

State health officials recommend the following preventive measures:

1. Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn, and early morning);
2. Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin;
3. Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas;
4. Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.

Even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding ground, so residents should take the following steps to eliminate potential breeding grounds:

1. Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water;
2. Repair failed septic systems;
3. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;
4. Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed;
5. Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains;
6. Frequently replace the water in pet bowls;
7. Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically; and,
8. Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.