First West Nile death reported in Ohio for 2019

First West Nile death reported in Ohio for 2019
Ohio health officials report the first death in the state from West Nile virus in 2019 (Source: Pixabay)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - The Ohio Department of Health says a 68-year-old Lucas County man who was hospitalized with encephalitis died from West Nile virus.

His is the state’s first human West Nile case and death from the virus in 2019.

Health officials say there were 65 human West Nile cases and six deaths in Ohio 2018.

Most of Ohio’s West Nile cases and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes usually occur between May and October when the insects are most active.

The ODH says most people who are infected with West Nile do not have any symptoms.

About one in five develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis.

There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent West Nile infection.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid mosquito bites.

Some tips include:

  • Use EPA-registered repellents according to label instructions.  
  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and long socks when outdoors.
  • Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with an EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection.  
  • Treat clothing and gear such as pants, boots, socks, and tents with a product containing permethrin, or buy permethrin-treated clothing or gear. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.
  • Mosquito-proof your home:
    • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside.
    • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water on a regular basis from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths.

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