West Nile Virus Season in Ohio

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Late summer is West Nile Virus season in Ohio. According to the Ohio Department of Health  signs of active virus have been found in insects in 29 Ohio counties, including Cuyahoga.

This week,  a Southern Ohio man contracted the season’s first known case in Ohio but there have been some 200 cases nationally.  It’s spread by a very common house mosquito in Northeast Ohio but most people who get  the virus will never know, said infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals, Dr. Amy Edwards.

“If you get West Nile and it doesn’t get into your brain, then its actually very rare to die from it. Most people recover very well with no problems. If it invades the brain that does have a higher mortality rate."

About one in five people develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, and joint pain. Most cases are mild but some groups are more at risk

"People over the age of 60. People with significant preexisting conditions such as renal failure -- alcoholism for some reason is linked to severe symptoms from West Nile,"  Dr. Edwards said

There are no medications to treat West Nile virus infection.

Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites from the Center's for Disease Control:

•          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.

Here are some tips 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 all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.

•          Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.

 

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