Mosquitoes in Elkhart County have tested positive for West Nile virus.
The virus was confirmed in a group of mosquitoes collected in Elkhart on Aug. 13, according to a press release from the Elkhart County Health Department. There have not been any confirmed cases of the virus in humans in Elkhart County this year. However, a human case was confirmed earlier this month in Porter County, which is in northwest Indiana.
The health department offers the following advice:
- Individuals should wear repellent and/or long sleeves and long pants if out at dawn or dusk.
- Residents are encouraged to empty outdoor containers that may have collected water and pose the risk of becoming potential mosquito breeding sites, including flower pots, pools or blocked rain gutters.
Most people infected with West Nile virus don’t show signs, but about 20 percent of those infected will develop a mild infection called West Nile Fever, according to the health department.
Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, fatigue and occasional skin rashes, swollen lymph glands and eye pain. Mild symptoms of West Nile fever usually resolve on their own.
In less than 1 percent of people infected, the virus causes a serious neurological infection that leads to inflammation of the brain and surrounding membranes, infection and inflammation of the spinal cord and sudden weakness in the arms, legs or breathing muscles, according to the health department.
Signs and symptoms of these rarer effects include high fever, severe headache, stiff neck, disorientation or confusion, stupor or coma, tremors or muscle jerking, lack of coordination, pain, convulsions, partial paralysis or sudden weakness.
A serious West Nile virus infection generally requires hospitalization. Those who experience signs or symptoms of serious infection should seek medical attention right away.