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St. Joseph County Dept. Of Health Cautions Against Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

mosquito bites skin

The St. Joseph County Department of Health is warning Michiana residents to guard against mosquito-borne diseases this Labor Day weekend.

Though there have been no human cases so far, the health department says the West Nile virus has been detected in Mishawaka, Osceola, South Bend, Clay and Penn Townships and Elkhart County, as well as in Berrien and Cass Counties in Michigan. 


Health officials say Eastern Equine Encephalitis has also been detected in lower Michigan –– though again, no human cases have been reported.


The health department recommends avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most likely to be active. It also recommends EPA-registered insect repellent and covering exposed skin in locations mosquitoes are likely to be active, like wooded areas and around standing water.


(Read the full release from the health department below.)

In advance of the extended holiday weekend, the St. Joseph County Department of Health is warning  residents of the increased presence of mosquito borne disease in St. Joseph County and the Michiana  area at large. West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes in three separate locations this past week  in the areas of Mishawaka, Osceola, and Clay Township. A location within South Bend tested positive  in August, as did another location in Penn Township. Neighboring Elkhart County has recorded fifteen  cases of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes to date, and West Nile has also been detected in Berrien and  Cass Counties in Michigan. Additionally, Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been detected in lower  Michigan. There have not been any human cases of West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis in  Indiana or Michigan to date in 2021. 


The SJC Department of Health is continuing to monitor for mosquito borne disease and will address it whenever possible. However, due to the locations of some mosquito populations, spraying for mosquitoes is not always possible. 


The SJC Department of Health is encouraging you to take the following steps to protect you and your  family from mosquitoes: 

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late 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, such as wooded areas;  
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home. 

To reduce potential mosquito 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. 

For more information about West Nile Virus, go to the St. Joseph County Department of Health’s website  (  

Gemma DiCarlo came to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.