Mosquito carrying West Nile virus found in Jennings

With a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus discovered this summer in eastern Jennings County, state health officials are warning all south central Indiana residents to take precautions to protect themselves.

Besides Jennings, mosquitoes with the virus have been found in three other counties: Benton, Hamilton and Marion. At of mid-July, the state had one confirmed human case of West Nile in the Indianapolis area.

In contrast, infected insects were discovered in at least 27 Indiana counties by the end of last summer, according to 2015 news accounts.

However, state health officials expect to see increased West Nile virus activity in Indiana as the mosquito season continues, according to a news release.

In Vernon, Jennings County health officials were notified July 13 that the insect, which had been captured near Butlerville a month earlier, was infected.

The virus, which can transmitted to humans, dogs, cats and horses, normally causes fever, headache and a rash. However, a potentially fatal form of encephalitis has been linked to the disease.

Residents are encouraged to wear insect repellent and eliminate sources of standing water. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products are considered most effective.

The peak mosquito-biting hours are from dusk to dawn, so residents may want to take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing while outside at night.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.