First probable human case of West Nile virus infection in Indiana

Indianpolis State health officials report that a Benton County resident is the first probable human case of West Nile virus infection in Indiana this year.

"We are not surprised to see a probable human case," said James Howell, DVM, veterinary epidemiologist with the Indiana State Department of Health. "We've already had clear evidence of West Nile virus activity in birds and mosquitoes statewide this year."

To date, 26 Indiana counties from all over the state have had positive test results for West Nile virus in birds and mosquitoes.

"We urge Hoosiers to take personal precautions to avoid infection," said Howell. "There is no human vaccine and no cure for West Nile virus, but it can be prevented."

Health officials recommend that Hoosiers avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, from dusk to dawn, when possible. When outdoors and mosquitoes are biting, individuals should do the following:

  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothes and exposed skin; and
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

West Nile virus is transmitted to a human by a mosquito that has first bitten an infected bird. A person who is bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms from three to 15 days after the bite. The virus usually causes a milder form of illness, West Nile fever, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash.

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