This is an Aedes albopictus female mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host.

ELKHART — The Elkhart County Health Department announced Wednesday afternoon that adult mosquitoes collected in the southern part of Elkhart County have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

The mosquitoes were collected and examined by the Indiana Department of Health.

"It is possible that the virus is present in other areas of the county and could be detected soon," health officials stated in a press release.

So the health department is suggesting people take precautions to avoid contracting West Nile. "With the higher temperatures and increased rainfall we have experienced in the last couple of weeks and more predicted for the future, the potential exists for individuals to be impacted soon by the West Nile Virus or other mosquito-borne diseases," health officials said.

Precautions include:

• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active — later afternoon, dusk to dawn and early morning.

• Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin.

• Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, including wooded areas.

• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home.

Health officials said that even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding ground. Residents should take the following steps to eliminate potential breeding grounds:

• Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water.

• Repair failed septic systems

• Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors

• Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed

• Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains

• Frequently replace the water in pet bowls

• Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically; aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish.

Contact the Elkhart County Health Department for more information concerning mosquito control at 574-971-4600.

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