9-27-19 IMPORTANT Information from the Elkhart County Health Department

From the Elkhart County Health Department:

The Elkhart County Health Department (ECHD) is renewing an earlier warning regarding the threat of mosquito borne illnesses. ECHD has received notice from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) that one mosquito sample pool has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and four horses have tested positive for EEE in Elkhart County in addition to several positive pools of West Nile Virus (WNV). The presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Elkhart County is not unexpected considering our proximity to some of the Michigan counties that have had both animal and human cases of EEE.

Although there is a vaccination available for horses there is not one available for humans. Thus, it is imperative that Elkhart County residents be vigilant to protect themselves from mosquitoes. The kind of mosquitoes that spread EEE typically breed in bog and hardwood swamp wetlands. Mosquitoes will remain active at temperatures above 60 degrees F and tend to be more active in the evening and pre-dawn hours.

Precautions people need to take include:

  • avoiding areas where mosquitoes breed,
  • staying indoors when mosquitoes are active,
  • utilizing an EPA registered insect repellent and
  • wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants in areas of high mosquito activity.

Be vigilant and remember to check your property for mosquito breeding sites:

  • empty containers that are holding water,
  • unclog gutters,
  • keep overgrown vegetation mowed,
  • dispose of old tires and
  • maintain screens in doorways and windows,
  • swimming pools should be maintained, clean and operational;
  • ornamental ponds should be aerated to prevent the collection of mosquito larvae.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis can be seen in the late summer while West Nile Virus transmission tends to be higher in the early fall. This in part is due to amplification of the disease in the various wildlife reservoirs. It is not uncommon for people to become infected even when mosquito activity seems to be nonexistent. Precautions need to be taken now to prevent serious illness and needless loss of life.