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Adams County Sanitarian/Environmental Director Terry R. Smith has announced that his department has received repeated verifications from the Indiana State Department of Health’s weekly Arboviral Surveillance Reports that West Nile Virus (WNV) is again present in Indiana and in Adams County.
A total of 67 counties, including Adams, have had positive tests. Other counties with positive tests include Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Jay, Huntington, Noble, Randolph, Wells and Whitley.
The department also said there have been three cases of WNV in horses reported —in Adams, Allen and LaGrange counties. None of the horses had been recently vaccinated. Two were euthanized and one died from the disease, the department said.
To date, the Indiana Department of Health has collected and tested over 95,000 mosquitoes from 92 counties.
The CDC has also reported there are more cases at this point in the summer than any year on record, Smith said. Drought conditions do not have an adverse affect on the breeding of Culex mosquitoes, which is the type capable of transmitting WNV to humans. In fact, Culex breed more prolifically in stagnant and polluted water.
Due to the drought, however, many waterways have not been flushed out as often this summer, which has created more stagnant and polluted conditions.
The public should take protective measures against mosquito bites (especially at night) and eliminate any places that may breed or harbor mosquitoes, Smith said.
Though the Culex normally prefers to obtain blood meals from birds, we are reaching the time of year it will more readily feed on humans as a secondary source, Smith continued.
The Culex prefers to breed in small containers such as tires, cans, flowerpots, rain barrels and clogged rain gutters; also in areas prone to receiving high organic loads such as stagnant, polluted ditches and failing septic systems. All of those can be eliminated as breeding sites, in one way or another.
Individual properties should be closely monitored for breeding sites and polluted areas should be reported to the health department.
As a last line of defense, Smith noted, particularly at this time of year, people should take special measures to protect themsvles from mosquito bites by using repellents that have concentrations of the chemical diethyl toluamide (“deet”) greater than 15 percent.