HENDRICKS COUNTY – Public health officials from the Hendricks County Health Department continue to encourage county residents to protect themselves from West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases after multiple mosquito pool samples have tested positive for the virus.
“It’s important to remember that we’re in the peak West Nile virus months, which are July, August, and September,” says Julie Haan, Director of Environmental Health at the Health Department. “This is when we can expect to see more mosquitoes testing positive for the virus, so it’s important to be especially careful and take proper precautions to protect yourself and your family.”
There are several measures that residents can take to eliminate mosquito breeding areas:
- Eliminate areas of standing water on or near property
- Repair failed septic systems
- Dispose of old tires, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or other unused containers that could hold water
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outside
- Clean clogged roof gutters
- Drain unused swimming pools and keep pool covers free of standing water
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish
- Dump bird bath water at least twice a week
Residents should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, such as staying inside between dusk and dawn, using insect repellant containing DEET, and wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts when going outside.
Haan says that the Health Department has been working throughout the season to collect mosquito samples and investigate the potential for mosquito-borne disease transmission in the county. The Health Department has also been treating mosquito breeding areas on a complaint basis.
West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash. People over 50 or those with weak immune systems are more likely to develop a severe form of the disease that can cause swelling of the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis, or death. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their doctor or other health care provider immediately.
For additional information about West Nile virus, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s webpage, https://www.in.gov/isdh/23599.htm, or the Center for Disease Control’s West Nile information site, https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html. For information about where mosquito samples were collected, visit http://www.co.hendricks.in.us/topic/index.php?topicid=59&structureid=16. For more information about mosquito control, contact the Hendricks County Health Department Environmental Health Division at (317) 745-9217.