A mosquito biting a person (Gabor Bibor)
The hot August weather may be slowing the activity levels of Indiana residents, but the same cannot be said of Indiana mosquitoes. The recent high temperatures have increased the mosquito population and with it the risk of West Nile virus infection.
The Marion County Health Department first confirmed the discovery of West Nile positive mosquitoes in mid-July. Less than one month later, the Indiana State Department of Health reports another 13 Indiana counties have confirmed the West Nile virus in their local mosquito populations.
"Based on past experience, the recent hot weather is a big factor for the increase in positive mosquitoes," said Jennifer House, DVM, director, Zoonotic and Environmental Epidemiology at the Indiana State Department of Health, in an August 10 press release. "Because of this, there is an increased risk for human cases."
Since 2002, the first year Indiana confirmed a human West Nile virus infection, over 20 state residents have died from the disease. There have been no confirmed reports of West Nile virus in humans in Indiana so far this year.
"Besides West Nile, mosquitoes can spread several different disease causing viruses, including St. Louis Encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis," said Dr. House. "Mosquito transmitted diseases commonly occur in August and September so Hoosiers should take the proper precautions to prevent being bitten."
For tips on how to prevent a mosquito bite, see the article "Indiana health officials remind Hoosiers to protect themselves from mosquito-transmitted diseases."
As of August 10, 2010, the following 14 Indiana counties have confirmed West Nile activity: Adams, Allen, Clinton, Delaware, Grant, Hamilton, Hendricks, Howard, Kosciusko, Lake, Madison, Marion, Montgomery and Wabash.
A look back: On August 13, 2009, WISH-TV 8 Indianapolis reported the death of an Indiana man who had contracted West Nile virus. It was the first West Nile virus death in Marion County since 2006.
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- Eastern Equine Encephalitis found in Indiana mosquitoes