The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian Friday:
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Ashley Bergquist
September 2, 2022 812-803-6362
Or Lori Kelley
WEST NILE VIRUS MOSQUITOES FOUND IN MONROE COUNTY
Bloomington, IN –The Monroe County Health Department confirms that samples or pools of mosquitoes (up to 100 mosquitoes per pool may be tested) have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Monroe County. Samples were collected by the Indiana Department of Health as part of their mosquito surveillance program.
“You can help protect your family and your community from West Nile Virus by eliminating areas of standing water available for mosquito breeding in or near your property,” says Environmental Health Specialist Simeon Baker, who manages Monroe County’s mosquito surveillance program.
The mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus breed in places like ditches, open septic systems, discarded tires, birdbaths, unused wading pools, untended swimming pools and swimming pool covers, clogged roof gutters and any unused containers that hold water for days at a time. According to Baker, a bucket that has stagnant water in it for seven days can become home to up to a thousand mosquitoes. To avoid stagnant water, residents can take the following actions:
Think “Tip or Toss” – Drain and/or discard old tires, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold stagnant water
Repair failed septic systems
Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors
Clean clogged roof gutters
Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed
Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically
Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish
Frequently replace the water in pet bowls
Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home
West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have first bitten an infected bird. A person who is bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms 3 to 15 days after the bite. Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus will have either no symptoms or mild symptoms.
However, a few individuals will have a more severe form of the disease—encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord). Health officials say that individuals over age 50 are at higher risk for serious illness. Persons who develop the following symptoms should see a doctor:
muscle weakness or paralysis
nausea or vomiting
There is no specific treatment for West Nile Virus, and no vaccine is available for humans.
Health officials recommend the following measures to prevent mosquito-borne diseases when venturing outside:
Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn and early morning)
Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin
Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas
More information on West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases is available at https://www.in.gov/health/erc/zoonotic-and-vectorborne-epidemiology-entomology/diseases/west-nile-virus/.