Starke Health nurse says not first time Starke has tested positive for West Nile

STARKE — Once again, reports of West Nile virus are in the news. Fortunately, Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch says there are no known cases of West Nile in humans in the county.
"I haven't received any reports of anyone diagnosed with West Nile. We did have a case of West Nile in a human in Starke County last year; but so far this year, no one has been afflicted," He said.
Starke County tested positive for West Nile carrying mosquitoes in late spring this year.
"In April or May, we had three pools of mosquitoes test positive for West Nile. West Nile is nothing new — we've tested positive before," Lynch said.
While West Nile carrying mosquitoes are in the area, Lynch said people need to just take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.
"If you're going to be outside during the times mosquitoes are more prevalent, or working in the woods, wear long sleeves, pants, and spray yourself with insect repellent for humans that contains DEET. Don't spray yourself with RAID or other pesticides. Keep mosquitoes off of you or even stay indoors," he said.
Lynch said insect repellent is not the only preventative step people can take.
"Mosquitoes flock to sources containing standing water: Pools, ponds, buckets, puddles. Keep these areas dry or spray insect repellent in the area to help keep mosquitoes from forming breeding grounds," Lynch said.
Starke County is currently one of nine counties that have tested positive for West Nile carrying mosquitoes. The others are Allen, Adams, Clinton, Grant, Hamilton, Jefferson, Vigo and Vermillion. The first human to contract the disease is in Ripley County — however, there is no additional information on that case at this time.
Last year 77 people in Indiana developed West Nile and eight of those lost their life.
Lynch said if people safeguard themselves, their chances of getting the disease are greatly reduced.
"As long as you're vigilant, you're cutting down your risk of contracting any blood borne pathogen that is transmitted by insects," he said.