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West Nile Virus Is Possible Cause Of Hancock County Man’s Death

No Evidence Of Virus In County, But It's Probably Here

Ohio may have had its first West Nile Virus-related death of 2007.

Press reports say a 73-yearold Hancock County man died Sept. 28, but Tom Davis, a compliance officer with the Hancock County Health Department, said Monday, Oct. 1 that the determination of whether or not the man died of West Nile Virus has to wait for results of laboratory testing.

Davis said it had been confirmed that the man had contracted the virus, but whether or not it was the cause of death won’t be known until the Ohio Department of Health laboratory finishes its testing, Davis said.

Press reports say that last year, there were 48 human cases of West Nile Virus in the Buckeye state, with four deaths.

As of Sept. 28, the Ohio Department of Health reported 10 human cases: five in Cuyahoga County, and one each in Butler, Clinton, Geauga, and Fayette counties. The figure includes the one Hancock County case.

Not in Fulton County…

Michael Oricko, Fulton County health commissioner, said last week there have been no indications of West Nile in Fulton County this year.

The virus shows up early in birds, and testing dead birds can give an indication if the virus is present. Oricko said so far, no dead birds suitable for testing have been submitted to the Fulton County Health Dept.

As of Sept. 28, two bird carcasses have tested positive for West Nile in Lucas County.

Testing is also done on mosquitoes caught in traps. Of 7,540 mosquito pools tested in Ohio, 282 have tested positive, including six pools in Lucas County.

While there have been no positive test results in Fulton County, the virus does not respect county borders.

“It would be a good assumption that the virus is here. We’ve just been lucky and haven’t seen it,” Oricko said.

Health officials want citizens to protect themselves against mosquitoes by using repellent and eliminating stagnant water, where the insects breed.

The virus is passed to humans by mosquito bites, but can be passed through organ transplants and blood transfusions.

In most cases, persons infected show few or no symptoms, but the virus can lead to West Nile Encephalitis, an inflammation of brain tissue that can result in death. – David Pugh

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