State health officials reported the first West Nile virus related death this year on Wednesday. The victim was a resident of Vanderburgh County.
A total of seven cases in Fulton, Hamilton, Jackson, Monroe, Marion and Vanderburgh counties have been reported this year so far. According to a press release from the Indiana State Department of Health, the majority of people who get infected are those spending time around or outside of the home, in their gardens, mowing the lawn, or sitting on the porch.
“Because this virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes, we are all susceptible to it,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D., in the press release. “The tragic death we’ve recently experienced serves as a reminder of just how important it is to take steps to protect ourselves from mosquitoes, both indoors and outdoors.”
The Department of Health suggests to avoid places were mosquitoes are biting, and to utilize repellents containing DEET, picaradin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Also, they suggest installing or repairing window screens and wearing pants and long sleeves whenever possible.
To reduce potential mosquito breeding grounds, they say to get rid of containers that can hold water, repair failed septic systems, drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that remain outside, keep the grass short and the shrubs trimmed, clean out clogged gutters, replace the water in pet bowls frequently, flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths frequently, and aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.