Clark County mosquito trapping reveals widespread West Nile virus

Local health district releases information for helping to avoid virus.

Nearly a dozen more mosquito samples collected by the Clark County Combined Health District have tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The virus is now believed to be widespread throughout the area, the health district announced Tuesday.

Ten positive samples were collected from all over the city of Springfield, so residents should assume West Nile virus is present in their area and to take steps now to eradicate mosquito habitats along their properties.

The most recent samples add to a growing list of WNV-positive mosquitoes that have been identified in Clark County in the last two weeks.

Previously reported mosquito samples positive for WNV were taken from the North Hampton and Catawba areas, as well as the northeast side of Springfield. Mosquitos trapped throughout the county are submitted to the Ohio Department of Health as part of the Vector-Borne Disease Program.

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In response to the confirmed presence of West Nile virus, the CCCHD said it is:

  • Inspecting the affected area and working with property owners to reduce breeding sources by draining stagnant water or treating stagnant water with products containing Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. Bti is safe for humans and pets and only affects the mosquito larvae.
  • Distributing informational flyers in the affected area.
  • Misting the affected area with Duet to reduce the adult mosquito population when weather permits. While safe for humans and pets, residents who have a concern about misting may opt out by calling 937-390-5600 or emailing the request and their address to environmental@ccchd.com.
  • Continuing to monitor the area for West Nile virus.
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The best way to avoid the virus is to prevent mosquito bites by applying repellents on exposed skin; wear long sleeves and pants or consider staying indoors; if traveling, check for travel advisories; have repellent and long clothes readily available; do outside activities when mosquito activity is less; empty and treat standing water on your property to avoid breeding sites; make sure screens on windows and doors are free of holes or rips, or opt to use air conditioning instead of opening windows.

The CCCHD also said that residents’ cooperation in getting rid of standing water “is the most effective means of reducing the total number of mosquitos and far more effective than spraying.”

West Nile virus is most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes and can lead to severe fever, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.) Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals when they bite.

Approximately 80% of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all, but there is no way to know in advance who will develop an illness, the CCCHD said. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

Up to 20% of people who become infected will have symptoms that can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for a few days or up to several weeks, the CCCHD release stated.

For more information contact the CCCHD at 937-390-5600 or visit www.ccchd.com.

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