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St. Joseph County mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus

ST. JOSEPH CO., Ind.-- The St. Joseph County Health Department announced Tuesday that mosquitoes in the county tested positive for the West Nile Virus, but there have not been any cases identified in humans so far this year in the county.

However, officials still urge St. Joseph County residents to take extra measures to protect themselves from these tiny insects that can spread such a deadly disease. Around this time each year, West Nile Virus becomes more prominent in mosquitoes across Michiana.

“West Nile Virus amplifies in the bird population every year, and so it’s sometime late July, early August that we see our first positive mosquito pools,” St. Joseph County Health Department official Linda Mauller said.

So what should you do to protect you and your family from getting bitten by the wrong mosquito?

“This is just a good time to remind people that yes the virus is here, it’s here every year, but the time has come to be careful, protect yourself, wear insect repellant with DEET,” Mauller said.

ABC57 went out to the East Race Tuesday to see how many evening walkers were taking these extra steps to protect themselves. They didn't even realize they needed bug spray.
 
“When I think about taking a walk in the park, I normally don’t think I should put on bug spray," St. Joseph County resident Klean Jackson said.
 
The Health Department also encourages people to stay indoors from dusk until dawn. If you do decide to go out, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Klean Jackson said Tuesday night would be the last time he leaves the house without a heavy dose of bug spray.

“If I’m going to come out to the park or be someplace where I know there are bugs around, I’ll probably be more mindful to wear something to keep the bugs off,” Jackson said.

There are a few more things you can do around your home to keep these pesky pests away. You should throw away any old containers with standing water where mosquitoes breed, clean clogged roof gutters and be sure to mow your lawn and keep shrubs trimmed.

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