West Nile virus found in area mosquitoes

No human cases of disease reported

Staff report

MIAMI COUNTY — Area residents will want to take extra precautions to safeguard themselves against mosquito bites this summer, as Miami County Public Health (MCPH) received notification Wednesday from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) that West Nile Virus was detected in a group of mosquitoes originating in Troy.

The mosquitoes were sent to the ODH after being found on the south side of Troy near Waco Park. According to MCPH, this is the first positive test for West Nile in the county in 2018, but they stress that there have been no human infections reported here so far.

“It’s not surprising to me, with all of the media reports about West Nile and tick activity throughout Ohio this season. The city spot-sprays our park areas as needed each year,” Troy Mayor Michael Beamish said. “However, whether we spray or not does not guarantee a mosquito carrying the virus won’t fly into our community.”

Across the state this year, 32 counties have reported West Nile Virus activity, including positive mosquito tests, and cases of the virus in humans — there have been two cases in Ohio — and horses.

MCPH staff will survey the local area to identify potential mosquito breeding grounds as well as to provide information on eliminating breeding grounds to residents in the area. At the recommendation of MCPH, the city of Troy performed spot-sprays within a 1-mile radius of the positive mosquito test on Thursday evening.

West Nile virus is an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) spread by the bite of mosquitoes that have been infected by feeding on infected birds. Most people are infected in Ohio by the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens.

The virus was first detected in the U.S. in New York City in 1999 and quickly spread across the country within a few years. Seasonal epidemics can flare up under certain conditions in the summer and continue into the fall.

County residents are advised to protect themselves as best as possible from being bitten, said Amy Welker, director of Health and Sanitation for the city of Piqua.

To avoid mosquito bites, Welker recommended the use of repellents containing DEET — or diethyltoluamide, the most common active ingredient in insect repellents.

“Also, if you know you’re going to be outdoors, stay covered as much as possible — long sleeves and long pants,” she said. “Another way to lower risk is avoiding being out between dawn and dusk, when certain types of mosquitoes more prevalent.”

Symptoms of West Nile virus

According to ODH, about 80 percent of people who are infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms at all, but there is no way to know in advance whether or not you will develop an illness. Those who do develop symptoms usually do so between two to 14 days after they being bitten by the infected mosquito.

Up to 20 percent of people who become infected will have symptoms that can last for a few days to as long as several weeks including:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Rash on chest, stomach or back

About one in 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms may last several weeks, and neurologic effects may be permanent. Symptoms can include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Stupor
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision loss
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis

How is West Nile virus diagnosed and treated?

West Nile virus infection can only be diagnosed by a healthcare provider. A blood or cerebrospinal fluid sample may be collected for laboratory testing. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection, and care is based on symptoms.

Who is at risk for West Nile virus and when?

People of all ages can get sick with West Nile virus, but those older than 50 are more at risk for severe disease. Most cases of West Nile virus reported in Ohio are in adults 70-79 years old, particularly men.

In Ohio, West Nile virus infection can occur anytime during mosquito season, which typically runs from May through October. Most human cases are reported in July through October, which means most are bitten by an infected mosquito between early July and mid-September. Therefore, summer through early fall is the time of year when Ohioans are most at risk for contracting West Nile virus disease.

For more information about West Nile virus visit:

• https://www.odh.ohio.gov/en/odhprograms/bid/zdp/diseases/wnv

• https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/

No human cases of disease reported

Staff report

Belinda M. Paschal contributed to this report. She can be reached at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com or (937) 451-3341

Belinda M. Paschal contributed to this report. She can be reached at bpaschal@aimmediamidwest.com or (937) 451-3341