INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) Officials with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) are urging residents to take steps to prevent mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and Zika Virus.
The Zika virus is a relatively new concern that has primarily been associated with international travel and while the risk of getting the disease remains low, people should still take steps to reduce that risk according to State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams. Indiana has confirmed six cases of Zika virus in residents so far this year and all have been associated with international travel. For pregnant women, Zika can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects, as well as eye problems, hearing deficits and impaired growth.
“Mosquitoes can transmit many illnesses, some of which can have tragic consequences, so it’s important that Hoosiers take steps to prevent bites and eliminate breeding grounds,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams. “These precautions will protect not only you and your family, but also your neighbors and your community.”
West Nile virus is the most common illness transmitted by mosquitoes.
The ISDH routinely looks for human cases of mosquito-borne diseases. Each summer, ISDH traps mosquitoes in all 92 counties and tests them for mosquito-borne diseases. ISDH is doing enhanced surveillance in 2016 to look for the types of mosquitoes associated with Zika virus transmission.
There are several ways residents can take to limit exposure to mosquitoes and to reduce their numbers:
- Avoid outdoor activity at times and places where mosquitoes are biting;
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and socks when outdoors;
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 to exposed skin;
- Take steps to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds outside your home.
The ISDH has provided three documents with detailed information on how to take precautions against mosquitoes Click on each link to download a pdf: