West Nile Virus cases continue to rise in Indiana

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There have been more confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in central Indiana and the constant rain is making the outbreak even worse.

There have now been 61 cases of West Nile Virus confirmed in Indiana, including six people who died from the virus. Two deaths occurred in both Marion and Allen counties, one in Vanderburgh County and the latest is in Hendricks County.

"It has been very busy. With West Nile Virus, it is probably our second busiest ever," said Marion County Mosquito Control biologist Jim Erwin. "But the threat will still be there until we have our first hard freeze, even if we get a frost here in the next few days or the next week or two, the mosquitoes will still be around until we get that hard freeze."

Of the 61 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in the state, ten have been reported in Marion County, four in Hamilton and one each in Hendricks, Hancock and Johnson counties.

The concern for mosquito control departments all over central Indiana is the mosquitoes infected with the virus are still biting. The reason infected mosquitoes are still thriving, Erwin says, is partially due to the drought.

"Actually, research tells us the West Nile Virus actually replicates faster in hot weather," he said.

To make that point, Marion County found three times the number of West Nile Virus infected mosquitoes this year than in years past. The mosquito that carries the virus can survive the winter, they can be found in catch basins, foundations and basements any place warm and when the weather warms up, they come out biting.