COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state has reported Ohio’s first human West Nile virus case this year.
Ohio’s Department of Health said Monday that a 71-year-old Lake County man had to be hospitalized.
In Cincinnati, the city health department reported earlier this month that a pool in the North Avondale neighborhood tested positive for West Nile virus.
Sietske de Fijter, state epidemiologist and chief of the department’s Bureau of Infectious Diseases, said 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.
Most people receive the virus through bites from infected mosquitoes. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes in Ohio most often occur from May through October.
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.
About 70 to 80 percent of people won’t get sick if they’re bitten by an infected mosquito. West Nile symptoms 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 as short as a few days, though even healthy people have been sick for several weeks.
Some of the most important steps you can take to stay safe from mosquito-borne illnesses include using bug spray every day and draining standing water in your neighborhood to prevent them from reproducing or congregating.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so regularly tipping out wading pools, buckets, bird baths and outdoor pet bowls is one way to keep them at bay.
- Use mosquito “dunks” in areas of standing water you can’t drain. The “dunks” kill mosquito larvae in the water but are harmless to people and pets.
- Keep lawns mowed and bushes trimmed.
- Make sure screens in windows and doors are tight-fitting to keep mosquitoes out.
- Wear long sleeves and pants during peak mosquito hours, which are around dawn and dusk.
- Use an insect repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon or eucalyptus.