Mosquitoes with West Nile found in Jasper

By CANDY NEAL
Herald Staff Writer

Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus have been found in Jasper.

The Indiana Department of Health notified the Dubois County Health Department this morning that the virus has been found in two pools of mosquitoes collected recently in Jasper.

Shawn Werner, environmental health specialist for the county health department, said the virus will continue to be in the county because birds carry the virus all across the country. The virus is found somewhere in the county annually.

“You need to be aware of this every year,” Werner said this morning. “The virus is persistent in the bird population and mosquitoes bite the birds. It’s just a matter of catching a pool that has an infected mosquito.”

Most importantly, he said, people need to persistently be aware of standing water that may be on their property. The water attracts the mosquitoes.

“You need to be aware of that, especially if you are getting attacked by a bunch of mosquitoes,” Werner said. “Mosquitoes generally don’t fly but a quarter to half of a mile. So you may have standing water somewhere that is breeding mosquitoes.”

Standing water that sits for more than four days is an area for mosquitoes to reproduce, according to the health department. To eliminate stagnant water, department officials encourage people to:

Ӣ Empty standing water on a property.
Ӣ Repair failing septic systems.
Ӣ Remove any containers that can hold water.
Ӣ Clean clogged gutters.
Ӣ Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed; mosquitoes can harbor in either.
Ӣ Keep swimming pools chlorinated and clean.

People can protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes by applying insect repellent containing DEET to their clothes and exposed skin, wearing light-colored clothing, avoiding wet and highly vegetative areas and avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn, which is prime time for mosquitoes to bite.

Symptoms of the West Nile virus are high fever, stiff neck, muscle weakness or paralysis, nausea or vomiting, severe headache and confusion.

The virus also can be fatal to horses, so the health department advises that the animals get immunized.

Contact Candy Neal at cneal@dcherald.com.




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