COLUMBUS — Ohio’s first human case of West Nile virus this year has been reported in a 71-year-old Lake County man that had to be hospitalized due to the virus, the state health department confirm.
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.
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.