In Indiana, nine counties have already posted positive results for West Nile Virus. State health officials are urging Hoosiers again this year to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases, including Eastern Equine encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
West Nile virus is transmitted to a human by a mosquito that has first bitten an infected bird. A person who is bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms from 3 to 15 days after the bite.
Culex mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile virus, breed in places like ditches, open septic systems, discarded tires, unused wading pools, and other assorted containers, particularly if they are in the shade. In urban areas, many sewer catch basins can be found holding not only water, but also thousands of Culex larvae and pupae.
How can you protect yourself?
When possible, avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite.
Use an insect repellant containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide).
Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Clothing should be light colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Even a small bucket that has stagnant water in it for seven days can become home to up to 1,000 mosquitoes.
You can also protect your family and your community from biting mosquitoes by:
Eliminating areas of standing water available for mosquito breeding in or near your property.
Repairing failed septic systems.
Drilling holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left out of doors. Drainage holes that are located on the container sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed in.