Cooler Weather Doesn't Eliminate West Nile Threat

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Most people put away the insect repellent with the beach towels after Labor Day, but you may want to get it back out.

Indiana state health officials reported four new human cases of the West Nile virus. One of them is in Vanderburgh County.

Denise Cory with the Vanderburgh County Health Department says, "We still have mosquito activity here although it's diminished."

Birds generate the West Nile virus in early summer. Mosquitos bite them throughout the season and by late summer, they've got enough of the virus inside them to pass it on to humans, who come down with the disease after a three to fifteen day incubation period. Cory says, "Usually in this area we would see west Nile cases in September or October, even November or December. Even into early December, it wouldn't be unusual to see cases being reported."

So now, even when it's chilly you should use insect repellent. Health officials recommend spraying repellent on your clothing and only on exposed skin, not skin under clothing. Use repellent that contains deet at a maximum concentration of 35 percent for adults, ten percent for children. Anything over 35 percent offers no added protection, and be sure to follow manufacturer safety guidelines on the label.

More and more people appear to be taking such precautions. Indiana saw nearly 300 cases of human west Nile virus in 2002. This year, the total so far is only seven. With this latest rainfall, you should eliminate standing water in your yards, just like you were asked to do this summer. We'll see the last of the mosquitos as soon as temperatures dip below thirty degrees.

Click here for more information, or refer to the West Nile information section below.