NEWARK – The Licking County Health Department (LCHD) has identified the first West Nile Virus (WNV) infected mosquitoes of 2017 in a trap set in the Johnstown area. The trap was set on June 22, 2017 and LCHD became aware of the results from the Ohio Department of Health Laboratory July 11. The area was sprayed for mosquitoes on July 12, as a part of LCHD’s mosquito control program.
Any further reporting of WNW-positive mosquito traps, by location, will be made available on the “data page” of the LCHD website – www.LickingCoHealth.org.
Mild WNV symptoms include fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. In rare cases an infected person can develop severe symptoms, including high fever, neck stiffness, headache, stupor, disorientation, tremors, coma, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. Symptoms typically develop between three and 14 days after the bite. They can last for as short as a few days, up to several weeks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.
WNV illness usually improves on its own but individuals may choose to seek medical attention if they are concerned. Persons experiencing more severe symptoms should seek medical attention immediately. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to talk with their doctor if they experience symptoms.
“With the identification of West Nile Virus in the county, it’s important for residents to take some simple safety precautions,” said Chad Brown, LCHD Director of Environmental Health. “Be sure to eliminate standing water on your property to reduce breeding sites, apply EPA-approved insect repellent, wear pants and sleeves when appropriate, and avoid outdoor activity after dark when mosquitoes are most active.”
Preventing Mosquito Bites
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, which includes puddles, stagnant ditches, and containers such as old tires, buckets, cans, neglected swimming pools and flower pots. Mosquitoes can carry diseases, including West Nile Virus, which can cause serious illness. It is important to apply mosquito repellent when participating in any outdoor activity when mosquitoes are active.
LCHD recommends following these tips to help avoid mosquito bites:
• Make sure that doors and windows have tight- fitting screens.
• Repair or replace all torn screens in your home.
• Remove all discarded tires from your property.
• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers.
• Make sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. If not in use, keep empty and covered.
• Drain water from pool covers.
• Change the water in bird baths at least once a week.
• Turn over plastic wading pools, and wheelbarrows, etc. when not in use.
• Clean ditches of obstructions so they drain properly.
• Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
• Check trees for cavities that hold water and fill them with soil, gravel, or sand.
• Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites on their properties.
• Use insect repellent and follow the label directions.