Ohio reports first human West Nile virus case of 2017

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent the West Nile virus

(AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio Department of Health reported the first human West Nile virus case of 2017.

A 44-year-old man from Clermont County is recovering from an infection caused by the virus, but did not need hospitalization, ODH said.

The Clermont County Public Health will conduct an environmental assessment in the affected area and implement mosquito control measures.

In 2016, ODH reported 17 human West Nile virus cases.

Sietske de Fijter, the ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Disease, said the number of human virus cases and mosquitoes that test positive for the virus can grow during this time of year.

“This case serves to remind Ohioans that they should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites in order to prevent mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus,” he said.

So far this year, 29 Ohio counties have reported West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes collected by the state for surveillance.

Most people who get bit by an infected mosquito don’t show any symptoms, the department said. Only one in five people who become infected develop a fever with headaches, body and joint pains.

Less than one percent of people who are infected develop serious illnesses such as meningitis. There are no treatments of vaccines to prevent the virus

Twenty eight states have reported more than 200 combined human West Nile virus cases so far in 2017, along with West Nile virus infections in mosquitoes and the birds who infect them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are some tips provided by the ODH to avoid mosquito bites:

  • If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear
    long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home

Here are some tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:

  • Eliminate standing water.
  • Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
  • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.

For morei nformation about mosquitoes and the West Nile  virus, visit www.odh.ohio.gov/wnv.

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