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October 18, 2013

BREAKING: West Nile virus fatality from Vigo County

TERRE HAUTE — State health officials have confirmed the state’s first death this year due to West Nile virus was a Vigo County resident, according to an Indiana State Department of Health news release issued this afternoon.

Twenty human cases have been reported and mosquito samples in 87 counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. In 2012, 77 human cases and eight deaths occurred in Indiana.

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

Mosquitoes are typically not very active below 60 degrees Fahrenheit; however, until there is a hard freeze (approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit), there is still a risk of being bitten and becoming infected with West Nile virus.

West Nile virus usually causes West Nile fever, a milder form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. Some individuals will develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other severe syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.

Individuals who think they may have West Nile virus should see their health care provider. There is no vaccine and no cure for West Nile virus.

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