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Health officials report first West Nile death in Indiana for 2012

Fox59

1:38 PM CDT, August 15, 2012

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The Indiana State Department of Health announced Wednesday the state’s first death in 2012 due to the West Nile virus.

A total of seven cases have been reported so far this year. Confirmed cases have been found in Fulton, Hamilton, Jackson, Monroe, Marion and Vanderburgh counties.

Health officials said those who spend time in wooded areas are not the only ones at risk for the mosquito-borne virus. They said a majority of people who became infected were working in the garden, mowing the lawn or just sitting outside on the porch.

“Because this virus is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes, we are all susceptible to it,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D.  “The tragic death we’ve recently experienced serves as a reminder of just how important it is to take steps to protect ourselves from mosquitoes, both indoors and outdoors. When you open your windows, be sure they have screens so mosquitoes can’t get in. When you go outside, you can protect yourself by covering up and wearing insect repellent, but you can also reduce the amount of mosquitoes around your home by eliminating areas they may use for breeding grounds.”

The West Nile virus usually causes affected individuals to have a fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash.  Some individuals could develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis.

The health department recommends taking the following steps to protect yourself from mosquitoes:

Click here for more information about West Nile and prevention.