The drought may be getting all the headlines in Indiana, but where there is standing water, there is also news.
Mosquitoes in two separate pools of stagnant water in Putnam County have recently tested positive for the West Nile virus, it was announced Tuesday afternoon by Darrell Brackney, environmental health specialist for the Putnam County Health Department.
He said the virus was discovered in mosquitoes found in a pool monitored by the State Board of Health near the intersection of Bloomington Street and Veterans Memorial Highway.
The second area testing positive is a pool of water at the southwest corner of the Edgelea Subdivision where the County Board of Health trapped the mosquitoes.
More than 30 Indiana counties have reported positive tests for West Nile virus.
Brackney said this is the first time he remembers two positive tests occurring simultaneously in Putnam County.
"Mosquito numbers are dropping because it's been so dry," he said, "but West Nile is becoming more prevalent."
The good news, Brackney said, is that no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported.
He urged local residents to take precautions like using mosquito repellant, avoiding going out at dusk or later, and emptying bird baths, old tires, gutters or anything else that tends to catch water and allow it to stagnate.
"Try to eliminate any possible havens for mosquitoes," he added.
Also, dress to prevent any contact with the bugs.
"I know it's hot," Brackney allowed, "but you should wear long sleeves if you're going to be out at dusk or later."
Humans can contract West Nile virus when bitten by an infected mosquito.
Approximately 80 percent of people infected with the virus do not experience significant symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
However, about 20 percent will experience symptoms such as headache, body aches, fever, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms may last from several days to several weeks.
About one in 150 people infected with the virus will develop especially severe illness that may include disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Such symptoms may last several weeks, and some neurological effects may be permanent.
To find out more about the West Nile virus at the Indiana Department of Health's web page on the topic: http://www.in.gov/isdh/23592.htm.