FORT WAYNE – The first signs of West Nile virus activity this season have been identified in Allen County.
“We expect this to happen every summer,” said John Silcox, spokesman for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.
West Nile virus is commonly found throughout the state each summer and there is usually an increase in activity as the season progresses, Silcox said.
In 2012, Allen County had 12 human cases of West Nile virus, including two deaths.
The mosquito that tested positive for West Nile virus was found in the 500 block of Elmer Avenue, near North Wells Street and just south of Franke Park, said Dave Fiess, director of Vector Control and Environmental Services for the Department of Health.
“Four technicians began in late June trapping and testing mosquitoes,” he said.
They began at the northeast corner of the county in Eel River and Perry townships, setting 40 traps a week in random spots, and will “snake their way through the entire county,” Fiess said.
The contents of the traps are tested on Mondays, he said.
This marks the second year the Department of Health will no longer routinely spray when West Nile virus is detected, according to Fiess. The focus is now on primary prevention measures, such as education, source reduction and larviciding.
“As we do every summer, we urge people to take precautions by wearing insect repellent when working or playing outdoors, and to rid their yards of mosquito breeding areas,” Fiess said.
For more information, visit www.allencountyhealth.com or call 449-7459 during normal business hours.
The Allen County Department of Health encourages the following protective steps:
- Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times from dusk to dawn, when possible.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
- When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside.
- Clean out gutters and birdbaths, dispose of tires, maintain swimming pools and hot tubs, and cover rain barrels and garbage cans.