FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Indiana State Department of Health reports first West Nile virus death of 2013

Indiana State Department of Health officials reported on Friday the first death in the state this year caused by the West Nile virus.

Twenty cases of West Nile virus have been reported and mosquito samples from 87 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2013. Last year resulted in 77 cases of WNV in Indiana, which led to eight deaths.

"Although we're past the normal peak season for West Nile virus, which was in August and September, there's still a risk of becoming infected on warmer days when mosquitoes are biting, so Hoosiers should continue to take precautions," Director of Zoonotic and Environmental Epidemiology at the Indiana State Department of Health Jennifer House said.

The DOH warned the public that mosquitoes can remain active until the temperature reaches approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The DOH said that most mosquitoes are not very active below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but the risk of being infected with WNV, or other mosquito-borne illnesses, remains as long as mosquitoes are present.

West Nile virus typically leads to West Nile fever in its victims, which causes fever, body aches, headaches, rashes or swollen lymph nodes. In severe cases, a WNV infection can lead to encephalitis, meningitis, flaccid muscle paralysis and death.