Experts warn of potential West Nile threat after heavy rains

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mosquitos have enjoyed the recent rain in the Tri-State, and experts say there is the potential that those mosquitos could be carrying the West Nile Virus.

So far in 2013, there has been only one reported case of the virus in Ohio, and it involved a horse in Northern Ohio rather than a human.

However, late July through Labor Day is when health experts say they've seen most cases of the West Nile Virus in years past.

In 2012, there were 121 reported cases of the virus in Ohio and two cases in the Tri-State area.

"With all of that rain that we have had, one of the issues that we do see is if we have an extended drought period where we don't have rain for a week to two weeks, all that standing water will breed mosquitoes," explained Jeremy Hessel with the Hamilton County Health Department.

So what can you do at home to protect yourself?

  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed.
  • Make sure screens in windows and doors are tight-fitting and free from defect.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants during peak mosquito hours – dawn and dusk.
  • Use insect repellent containing an EPA-approved ingredient such as DEET.
  • Remove any standing water from your property, including flower pots, wading pools and similar items.

Experts say locating mosquitoes carrying the virus could be more difficult this year because of a funding issue.

"There is not as much testing going on at local health departments of mosquitoes. The state had a federal grant where they were testing mosquitoes for free for health departments, but that has since run out," said Hessel.

You're most likely to get mosquito bites in the early morning and late at night.

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