Recent rains send Michiana mosquito count soaring

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Michiana's onslaught of early summer rain has set the stage for mosquitos to swarm by the thousands over the past few weeks across the area.

Local mosquito populations are higher than normal heading into the second half of summer, according to officials at the St. Joseph County Health Department.

Some of the collections are being sent to the State Department of Health to be tested for diseases like West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). However, some samples are being tested in South Bend. St. Joseph County is one of only four Indiana counties that can test for West Nile virus “in house.”

Only one mosquito sample collected in Vigo County has tested positive for West Nile virus so far in 2021. Officials believe it's only a matter of time, though, before a batch of these mosquitos “goes viral” here in Michiana.

“St. Joseph County has had a case of West Nile virus every year since the early 2000s, so it would be silly to think that it's not going to be around this year,” St. Joseph County Environmental Health Assistant Director Brett Davis explained.

There are simple solutions you can take to protect yourself from mosquitos.

“Wear long sleeves and long pants whenever you can,” Davis said. “Being that this is July in Michiana, that's not always the most comfortable solution, but whenever you can you should do so. You should also wear insect repellant as much as possible.”

Try to also avoid being outdoors when mosquitos are most active, especially in the early morning, late afternoon, and dusk to dawn.

It also doesn't take much for an area to become a mosquito breeding ground, so make sure to discard old tires or containers that can hold water, keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed, clean clogged roof gutters and frequently replace the water in pet bowls.

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