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Evidence of West Nile Virus reported in Porter County

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The first positive finding of the West Nile Virus in Porter County has been found.  County health officials report that a mosquito pool has tested positive for the virus and Maria Stamp, M.D. Porter County Health Officer says, "we could see human cases of the virus this year."  Dr. Stamp says "in previous years, most human cases were reported between mid-July and Mid-September."
Health officials urge county residents to take protective steps when they are outdoors including: 
*   Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, dusk to dawn
*   Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin
*   Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have first bitten an infected bird.  A person bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms three to 15 days after the bite, according to health officials. 
The virus usually results in a mild illness known as West Nile feverm which can cause fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash.  However, a small number of individuals can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.
Local health officials are also asking residents to take steps to rid their properties of potential mosquito breeding grounds by:
* Repairing failed septic systems
* Drilling holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors
* Keeping grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed
* Disposing of old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other unused containers that can hold water
* Cleaning clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains
* Aerating ornamental pools, or stocking them with predatory fish
Health officials report that although individuals 50 years of age and older are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile virus, people of all ages have been infected with the virus and have had severe disease.
For updated information on West Nile virus activity in Indiana visit:  http://www.in.gov/isdh/healthinfo/westnile/counties/92mapx.htm
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