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State Health officals report early start of West Nile virus season

Friday, June 21, 2013 - 5:01 pm

State health officials confirmed Friday the first signs of the West Nile virus activity in Indiana.

Mosquitoes in Adams County tested positive for West Nile virus last week. This is earlier than normal; typically, the virus is not found until mid-summer. West Nile virus is found statewide in the summer, and there could be an increase in activity in other counties over the summer. It is impossible to predict the severity of this year's West Nile virus season, as future temperatures and rainfall determine that. The state says people should void being outdoors from dusk to dawn; use insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus; install or repair screens on windows and doors; and, when possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while outside.

The virus can cause a mild form of the illness, including a fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. A small number of individuals can develop a more severe form of the disease some may die. People older than 50 are at greater risk of serious complications from the disease.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have first bitten an infected bird. A person bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms three to 15 days after the bite.