The culex mosquito has been known to carry the West Nile virus. Photo courtesy of the Ohio Department of Health
Photo: Lisa Powell
Photo: Lisa Powell

Ohio reports first West Nile virus case for 2018

>> Mosquitoes in Ohio test positive for West Nile virus

Health officials say 20 Ohio counties have reported West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes tested in a statewide surveillance. There were 34 human West Nile virus cases, including five deaths, reported In Ohio last year.

Most people receive the virus through bites from infected mosquitoes. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes in Ohio most often occur from May through October.

>> What you need to know: West Nile Virus 

About one in five people who become infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than 1 percent develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).

Reasonable precautions should be taken to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites.

To avoid mosquito bites:

  • If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn (mosquitoes are most active then), wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks
  • Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes
  • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent. Follow the label directions
  • Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out

To eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:

  • Eliminate standing water
  • Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths
  • Make sure roof gutters are draining properly
  • Keep wading pools empty and on their sides when not in use

Sietske de Fijter (SEETS'-kah deh FEYT'-er), state epidemiologist and chief of the department's Bureau of Infectious Diseases says West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes is the highest Ohio has seen this early in the season since 2012, when 122 human cases were reported.

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