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It’s Back: West Nile Virus Found In Lucas County




West Nile Virus is back, having been discovered in neighboring Lucas County.

Michael Oricko, Fulton County health commissioner, said Monday, Lucas County officials reported that two dead birds and five mosquito pools tested positive.

A human case was reported in Butler County, on the Ohio- Indiana border between Dayton and Cincinnati.

In a press release, Oricko said West Nile Virus, or WNV, is a preventable disease spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not spread by birds or human-to-human contact, although there is evidence it can be transmitted through blood transfusions and organ transplants.

Even in areas where WNV has been reported, less than 1% of mosquitoes carry the virus, and less than 1% of persons bitten by an infected mosquito become severely ill. Most will have mild symptoms or none at all.

However, in some cases, WNV can lead to encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.

Usually, people over the age of 50 and those with other health problems are most susceptible to serious complications related to the virus.

However, last year in Fulton County, 75% of human cases of WNV were in persons under the age of 18.

There were three confirmed cases and one probable case of human illness related to West Nile Virus. Of those cases, one person was hospitalized for about two weeks, and another, a few days.

Prevention

WNV is carried by birds bitten by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes may then bite humans and transfer the disease.

Prevention focuses on eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed and avoiding mosquito bites:

•Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are biting.

•Cover with shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeve shirts in light colors, which are less attractive to the insects.

•Use mosquito repellent.

•Keep screens in good repair.

•Remove discarded tires; they collect water and form breeding sites.

•Dispose of cans, plastic containers, or anything that holds water.

•Clean clogged gutters.

•Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and hot tubs; drain and cover if not in use.

•Drain standing water on pool covers.

•Turn over wheelbarrows, wading pools, or anything that collects water when not in use.

•Eliminate standing water on your property.

While it has been a dry summer, Oricko said that could also mean what West Nile Virus has survived might be more concentrated than usual.

“Now with this weather change, we’ll start to see lots of mosquitoes,” he said.

Testing

Oricko said Fulton County will send dead birds to the State of Ohio laboratory for testing. So far no birds found have been suitable for the test.

The health department is interested only in blue jays and crows which have not died due to obvious trauma such as being struck by a car or attacked by a cat.

“They can’t be decomposed at all. We want them within 24 hours of death,” he said. If suitable birds are found, contact the health department.- David Pugh


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