Hoosiers Urged to Take Precautions Against Mosquitoes to Prevent Disease

Last Updated on May 18, 2016 by cassnetwork

INDIANAPOLIS—As warmer weather approaches, so does the risk of mosquito bites.  State health officials are urging Hoosiers to protect themselves against mosquito bites at home and abroad to prevent mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus and Zika virus.

“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.”

The most common mosquito-borne illness identified in Indiana is West Nile virus. Indiana has confirmed six cases of Zika virus in residents so far this year, but all have been associated with international travel. The risk of local transmission of Zika virus by mosquitoes remains low in Indiana, but there are steps Hoosiers can take to reduce the risk even further:

  • 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.

Hoosiers can control mosquitoes in and around the home by installing or repairing window and door screens; removing, overturning or covering containers where water can collect outdoors; flushing out bird baths, pet dishes and kiddie pools once a week; properly disposing of used tires; repairing damaged septic systems; cleaning clogged gutters; and keeping grass and shrubbery trimmed. Support your community’s vector control program, which may include spraying to kill adult mosquitoes or treating standing water to kill mosquito larvae.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) continually conducts surveillance to look for human cases of mosquito-borne diseases. Each summer, ISDH traps mosquitoes in all 92 counties and tests them for mosquito-borne diseases commonly found in Indiana, such as West Nile virus. ISDH is doing enhanced surveillance in 2016 to look for the types of mosquitoes associated with Zika virus transmission.

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