The first signs of the West Nile virus have been reported in Boone County, health officials announced on July 18.
The virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that initially bit an infected bird. An infected person may show symptoms of the virus 3 to 15 days after being bitten.
Residents can take the following protective steps:
- Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times – dusk to dawn – when possible.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
- When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside.
West Nile virus can cause fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. However, health officials said some individuals developed a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.
People over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk for serious illness and even death. More than 20 Hoosiers have died from the illness, including one last year.