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West Nile Showing Itself Early This Year


Photo: Indiana State Department of Health

The dry weather has created stagnant breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Thirty counties across the state have mosquito pools that have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

Ninety-seven pools have been found across the state according to the Indiana Department of Health. This high number of West Nile pools is unusual this early in the season compared to last July when only 3 positive pools appeared in the state.

Indiana Department of Health Entomologist Bryan Price says there are basically two types of mosquitoes—nuisance biters and disease carriers– and the lack of fresh rain is what is making these disease carrying mosquitoes more prevalent in Indiana.

“The ones that we’re more concerned about are the ones that are known vectors of diseases such as West Nile Virus,” he says. “Now, they tend to breed in stagnant water. And what’s happened here is that with the lack of rain fall we’ve had creeks that have run nearly dry, but then they form pools or puddles in them that become stagnant and we’re able to get mosquito breeding there.”

Morgan County officials found a pool Monday that tested positive for the virus. Environmental Health Specialist Elizabeth Young says people don’t need to be worried, but they should take precautionary measures.

“Essentially what we’re asking residents to do is try to avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times– dawn to dusk—and apply insect repellent containing deet to your clothes and exposed skin, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants and just protect yourself,” Young says.

Several south central Indiana counties have reported positive tests for West Nile including Bartholomew, Orange Putnam and Vigo Counties.

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