Mosquitoes in Marshall County test positive for West Nile virus - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Mosquitoes in Marshall County test positive for West Nile virus

Posted:
MARSHALL COUNTY - UPDATE: West Nile season has officially come to Indiana. Earlier today, the state health department confirmed positive tests. Officials found mosquitoes carrying West Nile in Marshall and Pike counties.

"When I was growing up, we thought of mosquitos as pretty much harmless," said Dr. Daniel Nafziger of Elkhart County Health Department. "Mosquitoes were just things that just left you with an itchy spot on your skin.  I think those days are gone."

Nafzinger says most people won't infected with West Nile will never know. But others, especially those above age 50 and with weak immune systems, will develop more severe reactions including meningitis, brain damage, paralysis and even death.

"We're going to increasingly see diseases transmitted by mosquitos," said Nafzinger.

The CDC already attributed one human death in the U.S. to West Nile in 2014. It's late in the year for the virus to show up, but experts say don't be fooled. The two mosquito pools that just tested positive in Indiana... will likely be just the beginning.

Experts are expecting an unusually active West Nile season this year, and that's thanks to all of the rain we've been seeing so far this summer.

"The virus will catch up," said David Severson, director of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame. His team conducts research on why mosquitos make such effective hosts for viruses like West Nile. "We'll likely be seeing a lot more positive pools and unfortunately probably some infected human cases."

Of course -- the best way to avoid contracting a severe West Nile reaction is to avoid getting bitten. That means avoiding the outdoors after dusk and wearing bug spray.

"It's time to stop thinking of mosquito bites as harmless and make a more serious effort in trying to prevent those bites," said Nafziger. Another important tip: check your home and backyard for potential mosquito breeding grounds. For example, throw out old tires and ceramic pots that can hold water.

While the Dept. of Health says there have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans so far, and there's no way to tell yet how severe this season will be at this point, the presence of the virus is a reminder to take precautions against mosquito bites, which can carry other viruses as well. Officials are encouraging people to use window and door screens, and wear insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or lemon eucalyptus oil.

Officials remind that most people who become infected with West Nile virus will not develop symptoms, and most of those who do will have a milder form of the illness, with possible symptoms of headache, fever, body aches, swollen lymph glands or rash. People over 50 are most at risk for more severe symptoms which can include encephalitis, meningitis or muscle paralysis. Death is rare, but a possible result of infection. Symptoms usually appear 3 to 15 days after being bitten.

For more information, visit the Indiana State Department of Health's website.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Councilman Derek Dieter calls for clearer Council policy on medical leave

    Councilman Derek Dieter calls for clearer Council policy on medical leave

    Officials say South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. is midway through his first week on medical leave, but the specifics of why he's out are unclear. He hasn't spoken publicly. Instead, all we have to go on is an email he sent the council president saying he needs to concentrate on his health. His request came a little over a week after his DUI arrest. Councilman Derek Dieter wants the full council to meet and clarify the leave of absence process.More >>
    Officials say South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. is midway through his first week on medical leave, but the specifics of why he's out are unclear. He hasn't spoken publicly. Instead, all we have to go on is an email he sent the council president saying he needs to concentrate on his health. His request came a little over a week after his DUI arrest. Councilman Derek Dieter wants the full council to meet and clarify the leave of absence process.More >>
  • New ownership and volunteers working to restore historic Eden Springs Park in Benton Harbor

    New ownership and volunteers working to restore historic Eden Springs Park in Benton Harbor

    They call it a labor of love. A big piece of Michiana history, sat vacant for decades. Now, dedicated volunteers are working to bring it back to life.Eden Springs Park was opened by the House of David religious commune in 1908 and closed in the early 1970's. Until 2009 it was left to let nature take it over, until new owners said they couldn't let it happen.More >>
    They call it a labor of love. A big piece of Michiana history, sat vacant for decades. Now, dedicated volunteers are working to bring it back to life.Eden Springs Park was opened by the House of David religious commune in 1908 and closed in the early 1970's. Until 2009 it was left to let nature take it over, until new owners said they couldn't let it happen.More >>
  • Drinking water concerns for Granger and Gilmer Park addressed at a meeting Wednesday

    Drinking water concerns for Granger and Gilmer Park addressed at a meeting Wednesday

    Nitrates, nicotine, deet, and other toxins were discovered in St. Joe County water in December 2013, following a year-long study. Northeast Granger and Gilmer Park on the south side of South Bend are the areas affected by the contamination. The county health department points to septic systems as the cause for the problem. A group of experts met Wednesday night just to lay-out the first steps in cleaning up the drinking water. St. Joe County's Environmental Health Director, Marc Nelson, says ...More >>
    Nitrates, nicotine, deet, and other toxins were discovered in St. Joe County water in December 2013, following a year-long study. Northeast Granger and Gilmer Park on the south side of South Bend are the areas affected by the contamination. The county health department points to septic systems as the cause for the problem. A group of experts met Wednesday night just to lay-out the first steps in cleaning up the drinking water. St. Joe County's Environmental Health Director, Marc Nelson, says ...More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.