The Ohio Department of Health recorded Clark County’s first and second human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) of the 2018 season this week. In the previous 5 years, only one positive human case of WNV had been recorded in Clark County. As of September 10th, there were 18 total human WNV cases in the state of Ohio.
WNV is most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes and can lead to severe fever, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).
The primary vector in Ohio is the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals when they bite.
Approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all, but there is no way to know in advance if you will develop an illness or not. Those who do develop symptoms usually do so between three to 14 days after they are bitten by the infected mosquito:
- Serious symptoms in a few people. About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
- Milder symptoms in some people. Up to 20 percent of people who become infected will have symptoms that 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 a few days to as long as several weeks.
The CCCHD has sent an alert to the local medical community to facilitate quicker human diagnosis of West Nile Virus.
There is no specific treatment for WNV infection, and care is based on symptoms.
The best way to avoid the West Nile Virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites: AVOID, PLAN, STOP
- Apply repellents on exposed skin registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Wear long sleeves and pants or consider staying indoors as much as possible.
- If traveling, check ahead of time for travel advisories, and plan accordingly.
- Have EPA approved mosquito repellent and longs pants and shirts available to avoid bites.
- Do outside activities at times when mosquito activity is less.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying or treating any standing water on your property (even small amounts of standing water can be a breeding site for mosquitos).
- Make sure screens on windows and doors are free of holes or rips. You may also opt to utilize air conditioning instead of open windows if possible.
In response to the confirmed human case of West Nile Virus, CCCHD is
- Inspecting the affected area and working with property owners to reduce breeding sources by draining stagnant water or treating stagnant water with products containing Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti). Bti is safe for humans and pets.
- Distributing informational flyers in the affected area.
- Continuing to monitor for West Nile Virus.
For more information contact the CCCHD at 937-390-5600 or visit our website at www.ccchd.com.