Indiana currently has only one confirmed case of West Nile Virus but often times the virus will not present any symptoms. More recognizable symptoms of the disease may include a high fever, headache, neck stiffness, muscle weakness, and confusion but these symptoms are often associated with other diseases, including Lyme Disease.
According to a release by the Indiana State Department of Health, less than one percent of those infected with West Nile have a more severe form of the illness that can cause swelling of the brain or the tissue surrounding the brain as well as the spinal cord.
Cases of West Nile in the past have been confirmed in people of all ages but more severe outbreaks are most common in people over the age of 50 or those individuals with a weakened immune system. Individuals presenting symptoms are treated with over-the-counter medication for pain and to reduce the swelling.
For more information on the West Nile Virus, visit www.in.gov./isdh or contact the local health department at 254-8674.
There are several ways to reduce the odds of coming in contact with mosquitoes that may carry the virus. The Indiana State Health Department recommends these preventative measures: - Avoid places where mosquitoes are biting - Apply insect repellent to clothes and exposed skin that contains DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus - Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. - When possible, wear long sleeves and pants especially if you will be in a marshy or wooded area. Potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes can also be reduced by: - Discarding old tires, cans, ceramic pots and other containers that can hold water - Repair failed septic systems - Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors - Keep grass cut short and shrubs trimmed - Clean clogged gutters, especially if leaves plug up the drains - Frequently change the water in pet bowls - Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically - Aerate ornamental pools or stock with predatory fish Source: www.statehealth.IN.gov