Photo: Dr. Relling (Flickr)
Health officials say this year has shown the highest number of positive West Nile Virus mosquito samples since 2012.
Indiana State Department of Health officials confirm there have been 16 cases of human infection and three deaths.
Senior Vector-Born Epidemiologist Bryan Price says all but three Indiana counties have reported mosquitoes carrying the virus.
“The bottom line is, it’s really not something that you want to play around with because it does have the potential of resulting in death,” Price says.
West Nile Virus was first found in the United States in 1999. Indiana had its first case in 2001.
Price says the virus resides and multiplies in a cycle between birds and mosquitoes before infecting people. He says risk doesn’t end when the illness does and could even affect those who don’t display any symptoms.
“We have people of a wide variety of ages that are affected,” Price says. “But that being said people over the age of 50 are at a higher risk of developing the most severe form.”
Indiana State Department of Health officials advise Hoosiers to use mosquito repellent with DEET and to remove any standing water around their property.