West Nile virus has raised its ugly head in Indiana for a second time this year.
A resident of Allen County in northeastern Indiana was the first human case in 2005. On Friday, health officials with the Indiana State Department of Health said a second person has been bitten by the bug. That victim lives in LaPorte County in northwestern Indiana.
Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands and a rash.
The virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that has bitten an infected bird.
The good news is that as the end of 2005 approaches, the state is better off than it was a year ago. In 2004, Indiana had 13 reported human cases of West Nile and one death from the disease that is borne by mosquitoes. In 2003, there were 47 cases reported which resulted in four deaths.
No West Nile activity has been reported in Clay County this year, but the ISDH reports there has been activity in the surrounding Greene, Marion, Montgomery and Daviess counties. Those cases involved West Nile found in birds or mosquitoes. Altogether, there have been 119 infected mosquitoes, 34 birds and two human cases of the disease in 2005.
Although autumn is approaching and temperatures will begin to drop a little, mosquitoes will remain active in Indiana. The ISDH continues to recommend that Hoosiers avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, from dusk to dawn.
If humans are outdoors in mosquito-infested areas, they should:
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothing and exposed skin
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
Residents should also remove standing water from their properties to help pre-vent mosquitoes from breeding. Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus breed in stagnant water found in clogged rain gutters, ditches, catch basins and unattended pools and bird baths.
On the Net:
Indiana State Department of Health: