West Nile Virus Hits Record Number

Lorain County has one reported human case; 28 cases have been reported statewide, 26 deaths nationally

With an increase nationally and in Ohio of West Nile Virus (WNV) warnings are being dispatched to take precautions against infection.

Last month, Lorain County mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus.

As of Aug. 22, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported there were 28 human cases of WNV in Ohio in Allen, (1), Butler (1), Clark (2), Clermont (1), Cuyahoga (8), Franklin (2), Lorain (1), Lucas (3), Miami (1), Montgomery (3), Putnam (1), Richland (1), Sandusky (1), Warren (1) and Wood (1) counties.

No deaths have been reported in Ohio.

Last month, the ODH reported nine cases in the state, including three in Cuyahoga County and one in Lorain County.

In neighboring Michigan, is reporting that a Washtenaw County woman who was hospitalized with viral meningitis is that state’s first human West Nile Virus death this year.

The previously healthy woman who was between the ages of 75 and 85 was hospitalized at the beginning of August after showing symptoms commonly associated with the virus.

Human West Nile Virus cases are on the rise both nationally and in Michigan. Thus far in 2012, a total of 693 cases of West Nile Virus disease in people, including 26 deaths, have been reported to the Center for Disease Control.

Miller said this is the highest number of cases reported to the CDC through the second week in August since 1999, when the virus was first detected in the United States.

In April, Lorain County Health Commissioner Kenneth Pearce said his department was serious about reducing mosquito-borne diseases.

"Although we cannot eliminate all nuisance mosquitoes, we want to be aggressive in reducing the threat of mosquito-borne diseases," Pearce said in April.

According to Pearce, residents can help in the effort to control the mosquito population by eliminating areas on their property that can serve as mosquito breeding sites. Pearce gives the following tips:

  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace all torn screens in your home.
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, tires, or similar water-holding containers.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. If not in use, keep empty and covered.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Change the water in bird baths at least once a week.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools, wheelbarrows, etc. when not in use.
  • Clean ditches of obstructions so they drain properly.
  • Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
  • Check trees for holes that hold water and fill with soil, gravel, or sand.
  • Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites on their land.
  • If you must be outdoors, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks. Light colors are least attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Use insect repellents. If you will be outside during evening or night hours, consider use of an insect repellent containing 10 percent or less DEET for children and no more than 30 percent DEET for adults. Always use DEET according to the manufacturer's instructions.

For more information, visit the CDC’s website.


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