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Health officials report danger of West Nile Virus

September 15, 2010

PLYMOUTH — Marshall County Health Officials announced that mosquitoes captured in Marshall County have tested positive for West Nile Virus.  West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in 32 counties across the state. 
"As people are out enjoying the warm weather, I want them to be aware of this risk for infection with West Nile virus from mosquitoes, and I strongly recommend they take the simple precautions necessary to protect themselves,” said Dr. Byron Holm, Marshall County Health Officer.
The virus usually results in a mild illness known as West Nile fever, which can cause fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash. However, a small number of individuals can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis. 
“Mosquito-transmitted diseases commonly occur in August and September, when mosquitoes are more active because of hot weather conditions, so Hoosiers should take the proper precautions to prevent being bitten,” said Dr. Holm.
“West Nile virus is potentially a very serious disease. The good news is it is also preventable.” 
Dr. Holm urges county residents to take the following protective steps when they are outdoors to help prevent West Nile and other mosquito borne disease:
• Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, dusk to dawn, when possible.
• Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
The Health Department is also asking residents to take steps to rid their properties of potential mosquito breeding grounds:
•  Repair failed septic systems.
• Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
• Dispose of old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other unused containers that can hold water.
• Every week, empty and clean any containers used to hold water.
• Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains.
• Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.
For more information, visit the Indiana State Department of Health Web site at: www.statehealth.IN.gov or on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/INPublicHealth.

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