West Nile Virus Found in Greene County

Mark A. Miller, who serves as the Environmental Health Specialist at the Greene County Health
Department stated this morning that a sample mosquito pool taken on July 16th
by the state. The sample tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The virus has been of great concern to heath officials, as the virus produces high fever, severe headaches,
stiff neck, muscle weakness or paralysis, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. Health officials say
that prevention is the best medicine. Prevention can come in at least two forms: (1.) preventing the
mosquitoes from reproducing, and (2.) preventing mosquito bites. “Here are some tips to give to the
citizens,” Miller said:

  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET to clothes and exposed skin;
  • Wear light colored clothing;
  • Avoid wet, highly vegetative areas where mosquitoes live; and,
  • Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, dusk to dawn, when possible.

Some simple steps to prevent mosquitoes from breeding are as follows:

  • Eliminate areas of standing water on your property;
  • Repair failing septic systems;
  • Remove any containers that will hold water;
  • Clean your clogged gutters;
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed because tall vegetation is an excellent harborage area
  • for mosquitoes; and,
  • Keep swimming pools chlorinated and clean.

Miller said, “The basic rule is if water lasts more than four days mosquitoes can reproduce. Even a small
bucket can produce up to a 1,000 mosquitoes in just a few days.”

Not only can humans contract the virus, but Miller reminds local residents that it can also infect domestic
animals like horses. In fact, he said the West Nile is very serious and often fatal in horses. So, if not
already done, it is very important to contact your veterinarian to get your horse immunized.

The Greene County Health Department is located at 217 East Spring Street, Suite 1 in Bloomfield,
Indiana 47424. The office may be reached by phone at (812)384-4496.