Local West Nile Virus Case a Reminder to Use PrecautionJuly 29, 2015
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) has been made aware of the state’s first probable case of West Nile Virus. The affected person is a resident of Lakewood who has been under medical care and has resumed normal daily activity.
In addition, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has confirmed that a mosquito trap in the city of Maple Heights has tested positive for West Nile Virus. It is typical at this time of year for infected mosquitoes to be positively identified. Trapping mosquitoes is an important facet of our local control program as it helps local health departments and ODH effectively monitor disease activity.
“We are coming up on the greatest risk period for exposure,” said Dr. Scott Frank, Director of the Shaker Heights Health Department. “From August into September, we historically see the number of West Nile Virus human cases increase nationwide so the potential is definitely there for us to see more people become affected.”
Both locally and nationally, humans who contract the virus typically report that they DID NOT USE mosquito repellent when they were outdoors and before becoming ill. This indicates the urgent need for the public to use repellent when performing yard work, tending a garden or relaxing outside.
CCBH Health Commissioner Terry Allan says being prepared is the best defense when it comes to preventing mosquito bites.
“By taking the proper precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk for exposure,” said Allan. “This would include using mosquito repellent, remaining indoors at peak times, covering your arms and legs by wearing appropriate clothing, and eliminating standing water around your home.”
Residents and businesses throughout the county are urged to be aware of the ways in which they can decrease their chance for exposure, including when to go outside.
“It is important to stress that daily mosquito activity is most prevalent at dawn and dusk,” said Cleveland Department of Public Health Director Toinette Parilla. “If you need to be outdoors during those hours, please be sure to use repellent and follow our recommended guidelines in order to avoid bites and possible infection.”
Local officials are asked to remind residents about the importance of taking personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites by placing information and a prevention message on community websites, cable access channels, city marquees, and in printed newsletters.
According to the Centers for Disease Control:
West Nile Virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. You can reduce your risk of being infected with WNV by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites. There are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1% of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.
Most people will experience no symptoms. A small number of people, typically less than one out of one hundred, become infected and develop West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, an inflammation of the brain or the area around the brain which requires hospitalization. In some cases, especially among older persons, it can result in death. Symptoms of severe illness include headache, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors (shaking), convulsions, coma, and paralysis. There is no specific treatment for the West Nile Virus infection.
People who experience symptoms commonly associated with West Nile Virus such as high fever, headaches, muscle aches, vomiting and loss of appetite within 2-15 days after a mosquito bite should contact a doctor.
GUIDELINES FOR PREVENTING MOSQUITO ACTIVITY AND REDUCING HUMAN EXPOSURE:
- Dispose of containers that collect water such as buckets, scrap tires, cans, and flower pots.
- Eliminate areas of standing water.
- Repair leaky outdoor faucets that leave puddles.
- Empty and refill bird baths at least once a week.
- Clean, drain and cover pools or hot tubs if not in use.
- Unclog all gutters and drains.
- Fill tree holes with tar or cement.
- Tightly screen all openings of your home.
- Keep children indoors during times of peak mosquito activity – one hour before and one hour after sunset.
- Wear light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Use insect repellent on both skin and clothing. Repellents should contain DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil for skin and permethrin for clothing. Follow label directions.
Please contact the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to report areas of persistent standing water or heavy populations of biting mosquitoes at 216-201-2000. You may also visit us online at www.ccbh.net .
For more information about West Nile Virus and mosquito trapping, please contact:
Joe Lynch – Program Manager
Cuyahoga County Board of Health
216-201-2001 x 1200
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