Indiana health officials reporting first human case of West Nile in 2023

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 10:55 AM EDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - Health officials in Indiana are reporting the first case of West Nile virus in the Hoosier state this year.

Though samples from 60 counties have tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus, this is the first human case, according to our sister station WTHR.

The Indiana Department of Health says the person lives in Johnson County, which is just south of Indianapolis. No additional information about the patient will be released due to privacy laws.

State health officials recommend the following measures to prevent mosquito-borne diseases:

  • Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone to clothes and exposed skin
  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially early morning, late afternoon, and the hours between dusk and dawn)
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home

Even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding site, so you’re urged to take the following steps to eliminate them:

  • Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water
  • 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
  • Frequently replace the water in pet bowls
  • Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically
  • Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish

West Nile virus can cause West Nile fever, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash. Some people will develop a more severe form of the disease affecting the nervous system, including inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis, or even death.

People older than 60 years are at higher risk of severe West Nile virus disease.

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