Expert provides tips for dealing with mosquitoes

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes for the first time this year in Tippecanoe County. Experts say it comes as no surprise, especially with all the damp weather in the area. They share some prevention tips for you and your family.

“After sunset, we usually just stay home,” said Richard Ji who was running Monday at the Celery Bog Nature Preserve.

Ji said his family knows when to head to inside — right when the mosquitoes are ready to come out. He said he’s noticed more mosquitoes this year than in years past.

“My kids cannot, are usually afraid of going out close to the dark. The mosquitoes are crazy. They bite a lot, even me,” said Ji.

Dr. Timothy Gibb, an insect diagnostician at Purdue University, said because we’ve had a lot of rain since early spring, the mosquito populations are up.

The Tippecanoe County Health Department announced Monday that West Nile Virus has been detected in three mosquito groups in the county. Dr. Gibb said the life-threatening virus can be spread from mosquitoes to horses, pets and humans. A person bitten by a mosquito infected with West Nile Virus usually shows symptoms within three to 15 days.

“In early stages, it can be something like headaches and muscle aches and a little bit of dizziness. But when the symptoms become more severe, people can actually go into a coma,” said Gibb.

The health department said Monday’s news is no surprise because West Nile was present in the county last year.

Dr. Gibb said it’s a matter of prevention. He said there are vaccinations for horses, but not people. He said if you’re going to be outside during dawn or dusk and especially near wooded areas, wear long sleeves and pants, wear repellents like DEET, and make sure your property is free of standing water.

“Simple things like bird baths that are abandoned, pails that will hold water, even as small as a tin can. If it will hold water for a week, it’s long enough for mosquitoes to breed in there,” said Gibb.

For updates on positive results for West Nile Virus and a surveillance map, click here.

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