Northwest Indiana residents warned after West Nile virus found - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Northwest Indiana residents warned after West Nile virus found

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GRIFFITH, Ind. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Residents are being strongly urged to take precautions against mosquitoes because West Nile virus has been found in Griffith, Ind.

The Lake County Health Department alerted town officials that a sample of mosquitoes taken from an area around Colfax and Main streets has tested positive for the virus, Town Council President Rick Ryfa, R-3, announced in a release Wednesday afternoon. The samples were taken to the Indiana State Department of Health for testing.

Public Works Director Rick Konopasek said his department has put down insecticide pellets in standing water to kill mosquito larvae before they hatch as well as spraying the town with insecticide weekly, the Post-Tribune is reporting.

“Based on numerous positive tests for West Nile virus in mosquitoes within Lake County and the state the last couple of years, this is not a surprise,” Ryfa said. “I believe it was a matter of when, not if, a sampling would come back positive.”

Ryfa said residents should be cautious where mosquitoes are abundant. The very young, the elderly and those who are ill should wear protective clothing and take extra care not to be bitten.

Any questions can be directed to the Griffith Public Works Department or the Lake County Health Department. Additional information will be available at www.griffith.in.gov.

The virus causes fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash in about 1 in 5 people who are infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most people will recover completely, though fatigue can last for extended periods.

Less than 1 percent of people who contract the virus, however, can develop more serious complications, such as encephalitis (brain swelling) or meningitis (swelling of surrounding tissues); 10 percent of those patients die. Patients with cancer, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease are at a greater risk.

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