GOSHEN — Though no human or animal cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Elkhart County, more mosquitoes in the area have tested positive for the disease.
Three samples of mosquitoes collected by the Indiana State Department of Health in Goshen and Nappanee have been found with West Nile virus. If transmitted to humans, the mosquito-borne illness can cause symptoms as mild as headaches and fatigue or as severe as neurological infections.
West Nile virus transmission tends to be higher in early fall, according to the Elkhart County Health Department. Local health officials urge residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes.
“Even with the cooler temperature we experienced in the last week, the potential still exists for individuals to be impacted by the disease,” the county’s health department stated in a news release. “Cooler weather tends to force mosquitoes to seek shelter, and it is not uncommon for those mosquitoes to be found in our homes, businesses, barns and outbuildings.”
The weather is expected to be warmer over the next few days with high temperatures this weekend in the low to mid 80s. Mosquitoes typically remain active in temperatures above 60 degrees, according to the county health department.
Common precautions include using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved clothing. The county health department advises homeowners to check their properties for areas where mosquitoes breed. Emptying containers that hold water, unclogging gutters, getting rid of old tires and repairing screens in windows and doorways can prevent mosquitoes from congregating.