Services announced for music teacher who died of West Nile Virus

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Services have been announced for a longtime music teacher at Anderson High School who died from West Nile Virus.

Dick Wesp, 80, taught for 57 years in the Forest Hills School District before retiring in 2011.

His family will host a visitation from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Anderson Center at 7850 Five Mile Road on Sunday, Sept. 23. Funeral services will be held on Monday at 11:30 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral.

Friends may send cards and condolences to Richard Wesp Family, c/o St. James Episcopal Church, 3207 Montana Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45238.

Hamilton County Public Health reports that he is the second Hamilton County resident and third Ohioan to died of West Nile-related causes this year. A 76-year-old Hamilton County man died in August.

During his career, Wesp taught nearly 400,000 students in grades K-12.

"The legacy that he leaves behind will endure for decades to come," said Forest Hills Superintendent Dr. Dallas Jackson. "His commitment to students and their musical education contributed to the exceptional music programs that are in place today here at Forest Hills."

Former Anderson High School Principal Diana Carter says Wesp will be missed by many. He was well known throughout the state for his professionalism and contributions to music education.

"He was a legend at Anderson and his contributions made a significant impact on music education in the Forest Hills School District and hundreds of thousands of students," she said.

Upon retirement, Mr. Wesp said that he never imagined that he would remain in Forest Hills for his entire career. He had other offers. But none were enough to entice him to leave.

"I liked where I was . . . I always felt that I had great support from the parents and kids," he was quoted as saying.

According to an online newsletter from St. James Westwood, Wesp was an organist, music director and parishioner at the church.

"We at Hamilton County Public Health express our deepest sympathy to the family of the second Hamilton County resident to succumb to complications from West Nile Virus," said Health Commissioner Tim Ingram. "While this is certainly a tragedy, it can also serve as an important reminder to take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites."

Ohio has recorded 79 cases of West Nile Virus and 1,172 positive mosquito samples.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system that can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. It is important to note that most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will never become sick. Everyone, however, should be aware of the symptoms of WNV. Symptoms may develop two to 15 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.

No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about four out of five) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected will display symptoms which 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 as short as a few days, though even healthy people have been sick for several weeks.

Serious Symptoms in a Few People. It is estimated that approximately one in 150 (less than one percent) persons infected with West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of disease. 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.

While all residents of areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk, people over age 50 and those with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of developing severe WNV infections. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for evaluation. Here's information on how to reduce your risk of becoming infected with West Nile virus.

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