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West Nile Virus Case Detected, Virus Could Spread

Indiana West Nile Virus Map

Photo: Courtesy of Indiana Department of Health

West Nile Virus has been detected in 11 counties as of Aug. 24, 2011, and officials expect the disease to spread.

The Indiana State Department of Health has confirmed the season’s first human case of West Nile Virus in the southeastern part of the state, and experts say the virus could begin to spread north.

State department health officials say this year’s wet spring and hot summer could give rise to an increase in the mosquito population, which means West Nile Virus cases, like the one discovered this week in Jefferson County, might begin presenting in other parts of the state.

In addition to the one human case, several non-human cases of the disease have also been detected.

“The virus is actively circulating across the state,” said Jennifer House, director of Zoonotic Epidemiology for the Department of Health. “We’ve also had a bird test positive in Marion county, a  horse test positive in Noble County, and then positive mosquitoes in at least 11 counties so far, and we do expect that number to increase.”

Jefferson County Health Department Administrator Ralph Ramand says the human patient who contracted the virus is recovering, and he says his county is testing mosquitoes to try to find the source of the virus and stop its spread.

“We will continue to test and collect mosquitoes in the area where this case took place for the next four or five days,” he said.

To prevent the virus, the state department recommends staying inside after dark and removing any standing water around your home.

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