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West Nile Virus detected in Mishawaka, health department says

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.—The St. Joseph County Health Department has detected a pool of West Nile Virus positive mosquitoes in eastern Mishawaka.

The health department said St. Joseph County is one of two Indiana counties where mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found this year.

No human cases of West Nile Virus have been diagnosed in Indiana in 2020, officials said.

The health department is urging the following precautions when outside:

  • Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times - dusk to dawn - when possible.
  •  Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-methane-diol to clothes and exposed skin.
  • Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas.
  • Make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.

The health department said to do the following to reduce any potential mosquito breeding grounds:

  • Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water (even a small bucket that has stagnant water in it for seven days can become home to up to 1,000 mosquitoes).
  • Repair failed septic systems.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
  • Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains (roof gutters are easily overlooked, but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season).
  •  Frequently replace the water in pet bowls.
  • Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically, and aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use (a wading pool becomes a mosquito producer if not used on a regular basis)
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