West Nile-carrying mosquitoes found in Griffith
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 3, 2012 12:34PM
Updated: August 3, 2012 6:34PM
GRIFFITH — West Nile virus has been discovered in Griffith in routine testing of mosquitoes by the Lake County Health Department.
“It’s the first time we have found it (in Griffith),” said Nick Doffin, administrator of the Health Department and director of its vector control program. It is also the first discovered instance of West Nile in Lake County in 2012. There are no reported cases of the disease having spread to humans or animals yet.
Doffin said health officials have been seeing the vector, or culex, mosquitoes that carry the disease in higher numbers earlier in the season this year than in past seasons.
“Hot and dry is what they like,” Doffin said. Typically the large numbers of the mosquitoes health officials are seeing at this time do not start appearing until mid-to late August.
Doffin said most people are more familiar with the pest mosquitoes, the aggressive biters that bother people outdoors and thrive in swampy areas and lakes.
The culex mosquitoes are not aggressive and usually bite their victims at night when they are at rest. Vector mosquitoes, the culex variety that transmits the West Nile Virus, thrive in hot, dry weather and multiply in artificial containers where water may pool.
“They like to breed in the artificial containers, the type people tend to have strewn around their properties,” Doffin said.
Empty flower pots, off-rim tires, plugged roof gutters in shady areas and malfunctioning septic systems where water pools are all potential breeding grounds for the vector mosquito.
Doffin advises people to walk their properties and eliminate any potential breeding grounds to reduce the risk of being bit by an infected mosquito.
He said people should also use prevention measures when out at night including wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants or using a mosquito repellent spray.
People may visit Griffith’s website at www.griffith.in.gov for addition details and prevention information.