West Nile-infected mosquitoes found in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties

2012-08-13T17:30:00Z 2012-08-14T12:27:04Z West Nile-infected mosquitoes found in Lake, Porter and LaPorte countiesChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

Cases of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus now have been reported in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.

The first instance of West Nile-infected mosquitoes in the region was discovered in Griffith earlier this month. Town officials learned of a second positive test result Friday, Town Councilman Rick Ryfa said. The mosquitoes were all found in the same area on the southeast corner of town, Ryfa said.

No human cases had been reported as of Monday afternoon in the three counties, though state health officials are investigating four cases in central Indiana.

At least nine batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile in Lake County. Along with Griffith, test sites in Munster and Lowell also have yielded positive results, Indiana State Department of Health spokesman Ken Severson said.

Porter County had four batches of infected mosquitoes at test sites in Chesterton and Valparaiso, while LaPorte County had two as of Monday afternoon, according to the state.

“This is something people should take seriously,” Ryfa said. “We've already started to take extra precautions at dusk and dawn. It's a serious thing to get West Nile, and nobody wants to contract that.”

State health officials say the hot, dry weather is causing an increase in West Nile-infected mosquitoes this year. The type of mosquito that can carry the virus breeds in stagnant water.

The first infected mosquitoes were discovered in mid-May this year in southern Indiana compared with July last year.

While more cases are being reported, West Nile isn't new to the region. Mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus in Porter County since 2000, according to a news release from the Porter County Health Department.

“We could see human cases of West Nile virus this year,” Porter County Health Officer Maria Stamp said in the release. “There is already evidence of West Nile virus activity throughout the state.”

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