St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Thomas A. Felger announced that Indiana State Department of Health testing has identified pools of West Nile Virus positive mosquitoes in eastern South Bend.
St. Joseph County is one of 28 counties in Indiana where mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have been found so far this year.
To date, two human cases of West Nile Virus have been confirmed in Indiana, but neither was in St. Joseph County.
Dr. Felger encourages you to take the following steps to protect you and your family from mosquitoes:
• Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times - dusk to dawn - when possible.
• Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and clothing that is light colored and made of tightly woven materials to keep mosquitoes away from the skin.
• Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
• Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
To reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds:
• Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water (even a small bucket that has stagnant water in it for seven days can become home to up to 1,000 mosquitoes).
• Repair failed septic systems.
• Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
• Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
• Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains (roof gutters are easily overlooked, but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season).
• Frequently replace the water in pet bowls.
• Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically, and aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.
• Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use (a wading pool becomes a mosquito producer if not used on a regular basis).
• Remember - mosquitoes will develop in any puddle that lasts for more than four days!
For more information about West Nile Virus, go to the St. Joseph County Health Department’s website (http://www.stjosephcountyindiana.com/departments/sjchd/environmental.htm) or contact them at 574-235-9573.