ELKHART COUNTY – Goshen resident Wanda Lambdin died Wednesday after being infected with the West Nile Virus. Lambdin’s daughter, Susan Lung, said on Friday her mother was perfectly healthy before she was infected. The family is certain Lambdin was infected in Goshen because she lived there and never leaves.
“She was a strong woman,” said Lung. “For something as little as a mosquito to take her life is just unbelievable.”
Elkhart County Officials are now looking more closely at the mosquitoes in the area.
Dan Nafziger is the Elkhart County Health Officer and practicing clinical infectious disease doctor. “We will be sampling mosquitoes in the area around the person’s residence,” said Nafziger. “We’re looking for mosquitoes that can be carrying not only West Nile but other brain inflammation viruses.”
Gabe Cameron is an Environmental Health Supervisor and will collecting the mosquitoes from the Lambdin residence on Monday.
The trap uses carbon dioxide to mimic a human’s breath. “It has a fan and a light that attracts them and the fans pulls them down where they are trapped,” said Cameron.
The trap will be left up overnight and then collected. “The adults are ID'd. All the females are sent to the Indiana State Health Department Laboratory to test for diseases of concern," said Cameron.
Only the females are tested because the “females are the carries of the diseases and the ones that bite people,” said Cameron.
After the tests come back then Elkhart County will decide whether or not to spray the area for mosquitoes.
Elkhart County regularly collects mosquitoes once a week between May and September in specified areas.
Nafziger said the West Nile Virus first arrived in Elkhart County in 2002, but since that time there haven’t been many human disease cases.
“Recently we have not had much West Nile. Last year we did have mosquito pools that tested positive but we haven’t had much in the way of human disease,” said Nafziger.
He said death is rare from the virus. “I try to reassure people that most people don’t get real sick with West Nile Virus. This [Lambdin] is an unusual manifestation,” said Nafziger. “It’s not the norm.”
You can protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing more clothing to cover exposed skin and wearing bug spray.
Wanda Lambdin’s funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m., Monday August 29th, at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home.
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