Positive test for West Nile Virus found locally in mosquito

Mosquitoes collected in Bartholomew County have tested positive for the West Nile Virus for the first time this year, health department officials said.

The virus is transmitted to humans by a mosquito that has first bitten an infected bird. Most people who get infected show no or mild symptoms. A few develop a more severe form, encephalitis or meningitis, the Bartholomew County Health Department said in a news release.

West Nile Virus can exhibit these symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Confusion

The health department said it will be concentrating mosquito-control efforts in areas where the virus activity has been detected.

County residents, the health department said, should take special precautions when outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, including:

  • Using insect repellent containing DEET
  • Making sure one’s property is free of standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes
  • Repairing all malfunctioning septic systems that are discharging to the surface because disease-carrying mosquitoes tend to breed in accumulations of sewage water

The Indiana State Department of Health said in a news release that as of Aug. 16, mosquitoes in 53 of the state’s 92 counties had tested positive for the West Nile Virus, and two human cases had been confirmed.