Press release, dated September 3, 2010, from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department:
First human West Nile virus case reported
(September 3, 2010). – Allen County health officials announced today the first probable human case of West Nile virus this season. They are urging residents to take extra measures to protect themselves from this potentially serious illness.
This is one of two human cases of West Nile virus that have been reported in the state; the other is in Marion County. In addition, mosquito groups in 31 counties have tested positive for the virus.
West Nile virus is an arboviral disease transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. The disease is not generally spread from person to person, however, it is possible the virus might be transmitted person-to-person through blood transfusions, breast-feeding, and from mother to child during pregnancy.
Most people with the virus will experience only a mild illness about three to 15 days after being bitten. Symptoms can include high fever, headache, body aches and a rash. A small number of individuals will develop a more severe form of the disease which could include neurological syndromes, including paralysis. There is no vaccine and no specific treatment for West Nile virus.
“This detection should remind us all that we need to take precautions to prevent mosquito-borne disease,” said Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner. “These cases most commonly occur in August and September, when mosquitoes are more active because of hot weather conditions. Even with the change in seasons and cooler temperatures on the way, mosquitoes will remain a threat until the second hard frost.”
To avoid being bitten, resident should apply mosquito repellant, wear long sleeves and long pants and avoid going outside during peak mosquito biting times. Residents can also reduce mosquito breeding by removing sources of standing water around their home or property.
For more information about mosquitoes, visitor call 260-449-7459.
West Nile Virus prevention measures
- Check your property for breeding sites. Eliminate any sources of standing water. Clean out gutters and birdbaths. Properly dispose of tires. Maintain swimming pools and hot tubs.
- Limit time spent outdoors during peak mosquito biting times.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing, pants and long sleeve shirts.
- Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to clothing and exposed skin.