WEST NILE: Hot, dry conditions may pose a threat

COLUMBIA CITY — According to the Associated Press, Indiana is reporting higher rates of infected mosquitoes due to the hot, dry weather conditions, posing a threat to humans. These conditions make standing water, stagnant, allowing the Culex mosquitoes’ life cycles to speed up and therefore accelerating the virus replication process.“Generally West Nile virus is present in the hot summer months,” said Lisa Hatcher, Whitley County Health Officer. “When mosquitoes hatch earlier, they are around for a longer period.”Hatcher said there have been no West Nile virus cases reported in Whitley County yet, but there is need for caution when there are more mosquitoes testing positive for the virus.“Generally, anyone whose immune system is compromised is at risk for the severe form of the disease,” said Hatcher.According to Hatcher, the symptoms of West Nile virus are flu like and fairly non-specific including headaches, fevers, rashes and swollen glands. “You can prevent the transmission by staying away from mosquito infested areas and, of course, by wearing repellent,” said Hatcher.