West Nile Virus Found in Central Indiana

A crow found in southeastern Marion County is the first positive indicator that West Nile virus (WNV) has officially arrived in Indiana.

State health officials say that although this is the first time WNV, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, has been identified in the state, it is not unexpected. No human cases have been found in Indiana.

"This is not a surprise. We were expecting WNV to be found in Indiana either this year or next summer," said Michael Sinsko, senior medical entomologist at the Indiana State Department of Health. "The State Department of Health, assisted in this area by the Marion County Health Department, has conducted a very intensive sampling of birds and mosquitoes this year."

"West Nile virus is usually spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread person-to-person," said State Health Commissioner Greg Wilson, M.D.

Tests completed Aug. 21 by the Indiana State Department of Health Laboratories confirmed the presence of WNV in the crow. Laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be conducting tests in the next few days to further confirm the positive results.

State health officials say that although the virus was found in Marion County, it could be present in mosquitoes in other areas. West Nile virus has been found in nearly 80 bird species and eight mammal species.

Prior to August 1999, WNV had never been reported in the Western Hemisphere.

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