West Nile virus found in Blue Ash: How to protect yourself - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

West Nile virus found in Blue Ash: How to protect yourself

(Source: Raycom Image Bank) (Source: Raycom Image Bank)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Hamilton County health officials are advising residents to drain, dunk and protect standing water. Mosquitoes in Blue Ash have tested positive for the West Nile virus.

“We have ramped up our mosquito testing this summer, using two staff members to trap mosquitoes throughout the County for identification,” says Greg Kesterman, Assistant Health Commissioner. “West Nile was first identified in Ohio in 2001, so it’s not new to our area, but we like to take the opportunity to remind everyone to take precautions.”

An average of 59 people are infected with West Nile every year in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health. In 2016, there were 17 cases, four of those individuals died. 

Here’s what officials recommend:

DRAIN

• Look for and drain sources of standing water on your property – litter, tires, buckets, flower pots, wading pools and similar items that could hold standing water and become mosquito breeding sites.

• Frequently change water in bird baths and pet bowls.

• Drain small puddles after heavy rainstorms.

DUNK

• Apply mosquito larvicide, sometimes called mosquito “dunks,” to areas of standing water that cannot be drained. The “dunks” are environmentally safe and won’t harm pets. Purchase them at your local hardware store.

PROTECT

• Cut your grass and trim shrubbery.

• 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 an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon or eucalyptus. Always follow the directions on the package.

West Nile is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 70-80 percent of people who are infected do not show symptoms. People over the age of 50 are most at-risk.

Roughly 20 percent of people who are infected display symptoms that include: 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.

Most people recover quickly, but weakness can persist for up to a month. Less than 1 percent of infected people can develop neurological weakness like meningitis or encephalitis.

There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for West Nile, according to the CDC. However, over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce some symptoms.

In severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive care. About 10 percent of people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die, the CDC says.

Click here to learn more about West Nile.

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