Five pools of mosquitoes collected recently near the Greencastle Water Treatment Plant have tested positive for West Nile virus, a release from the Putnam County Health Department said.
The mosquitoes were collected by the Indiana State Department of Health on Aug. 6. The results were returned on Thursday.
West Nile virus was discovered in Africa in 1937. In 1999 an outbreak occurred in New York City -- the first reported cases of the disease in the United States.
West Nile is spread by mosquitoes and is most common in birds, but the disease can also occur in humans and horses.
"This should serve as a reminder to protect yourself as well as you can by using pesticides and repellants and eliminating standing pools of water such as pooled rain gutters, old tires or anything that collects and pools water, as these areas serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes," the release said.
Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites:
|*||Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants outdoors.|
|*||Fix holes in screens and make sure they are tightly attached to windows and doors.|
|*||Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.|
|*||Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or camping.|
Most people infected with West Nile will only develop a mild illness, if they experience any symptoms at all.
Symptoms may begin three to 15 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Signs to watch for include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen glands.
In rare cases, a West Nile infection may develop into West Nile encephalitis. Markers of this disease are headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle tremors or weakness and paralysis.
A small number of people in the United States have died as a result of West Nile. Severe illness and death from the disease are more common in people older than 50.
Questions about West Nile or mosquito prevention can be directed to the health department at 653-5210.