(SEYMOUR) - Health officials suspect a Jackson County resident is infected with West Nile virus.
Paul Ramsey with the Jackson County Health Department told the "Seymour Tribune" Tuesday that confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected soon. Ramsey says they don't know if she contracted the virus here or elsewhere.
To help answer that question, Ramsey will interview the middle-aged Seymour woman and an Indiana State Board of Health team will trap mosquitoes later this week in the area where she lives. He says they may also collect some elsewhere around the county. He could not discuss other details about the case.
"They may also collect some elsewhere around the county," Ramsey said.
Health officials report the number of West Nile infections across Indiana is increasing and poses a concern in the coming months.
Two human cases have been identified statewide, one each in Hamilton and Marion counties, according to the state health department. The virus has been found at a high volume in mosquitoes in many locations around the state, although so far not in Jackson County.
That doesn't mean infected pests aren't here, Ramsey cautioned.
"If you've had West Nile in your county in an earlier year, you still have it," he said. " We just haven't found it this year."
At least two Jackson County residents have been diagnosed with the virus in the past 10 years, Ramsey said.
As of Aug. 1, West Nile infections in people, birds and mosquitoes were reported in 42 states. A total of 241 cases of West Nile, including four deaths, have been reported to the CDC.
About one in five people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or a rash. People older than 50 and those with certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease are at greatest risk for serious illness.
Jackson County Health Department expects the peak time for West Nile transmission to start mid- August and continue until temperatures drop below 60 degrees during the daytime, Ramsey said.
He warns residents to take precautions when outside in the evening.
"The culex mosquito that is responsible for the transmission of West Nile is a nighttime biter and are out to feed from dusk to dawn," Ramsey said. " The culex love to breed in containers or anything that is holding water such as bird baths and pet dishes, rain gutters, discarded tires, buckets and abandoned swimming pools."
The health department recommends residents follow some basic tips to protect against West Nile, such as using a mosquito repellent that contains DEET, wearing long sleeves, long pants and shoes when outside from dawn to dusk, and ridding your home of places where mosquitoes can breed and enter your home.
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