YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Paul Grant of Liberty went fishing with friends last week and on his trip, he ran into an unwelcome cloud of mosquitoes.
“I was getting eaten alive. As dusk approached, the mosquitoes came out. We all got bit up pretty well,” Grant said.
A few days later, he got sick.
“I had a really bad bite on my elbow that was continually itching and then my elbow started to hurt in the joint and my shoulder started to hurt and my knee started to hurt and my other wrist,” Grant said. “I really did not think anything of it until I was reading some news stories about different mosquito-borne illnesses that could be spread around.”
Grant has not been diagnosed with any disease and went to the doctor on Thursday to get checked out.
A new virus, chikungya, has been reported in six Ohio residents. All of them visited the Caribbean and brought the disease with them.
Other concerns are West Nile Virus and dengue fever.
“There is certainly three potential diseases that could be imported into the United States in a very short period of time. Plus, mosquito bites tend to be irritating. And we see people itching it and then getting infected,” said Dr. John Venglarcik, an infectious disease specialist. “You can be bit by a dozen mosquitoes and not even know it. If you’re going to prevent them by swatting them away, you are going to lose.”
July marks the beginning of the mosquito season. They breed in standing water found in marshes, woods and ponds. If someone is going to be outdoors, it is important to take a few basic precautions.
“Wear something that contains DEET. You don’t want to use anything over 25 percent and you want to be very careful with children younger than 6 months,” Venglarcik said.
Also, wear long-sleeved clothing and make sure window and door screens are intact. Venglarcik recommends calling your family doctor with any concerns.
The Ohio Department of Health said it already had found mosquitoes with West Nile Virus. Four people in the state were sickened with the disease last year.