The primary way people get West Nile virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not have any symptoms. About one in five people who become infected develop a fever with other symptoms like headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis.
There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection.
“This time of year, we could possibly see a growing number of human cases of West Nile virus infection and positive mosquito samples throughout the state,” said state Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Disease Sietske de Fijter. “This case serves to remind Ohioans that they should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites in order to prevent mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus.”
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 states have reported more than 200 combined human West Nile virus cases so far in 2017, as well as West Nile virus infections in mosquitoes and the birds who infect them.
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The Ohio Department of Health gives these tips to avoid mosquito bites:
• If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to 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 and follow the label directions.
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
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