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West Nile virus found in Fort Wayne mosquitoes

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 2:33 pm

A sample of mosquitoes collected from the 500 block of Elmer Avenue off North Wells Street near Franke Park tested positive for West Nile virus this week. This is the first positive sample of the season in Allen County.

Starting in late June, the Department of Health has been trapping and testing mosquitoes for disease such as West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis as part of its mosquito control program.

The Department of Health no longer routinely sprays when West Nile virus is detected. The focus is now on primary prevention measures, such as education, source reduction and using larvicide.

While most cases of West Nile virus are mild, a small percentage can result in central nervous system problems that can be life-threatening. In 2012, Allen County had 12 human cases of West Nile virus, including two deaths.

The Allen County Health Department is warning residents to take precautions against mosquitoes.

Residents should empty flower pots and other containers, replace water in birdbaths, get rid of un-rimmed tires, clean out clogged gutters and eliminate standing water on their property. The Department of Health also offers free mosquito-eating fish for ornamental ponds and water gardens.

Residents should repair screens on windows and doors, limit time spent outdoors during peak mosquito biting times, wear loose, light-colored clothing, long-sleeved shirts and pants and use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.

For more information, visit www.allencountyhealth.com or call (260) 449-7459 during normal business hours.