West Nile Virus confirmed in Richland County

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(Photo Credit: CNN)

MANSFIELD, OH — With all the rain our area has gotten this year, the conditions are ripe for mosquitoes to breed. And now a mosquito infected with West Nile Virus has been found in Richland County. There are no reports of anyone being infected, but Richland County Public Health has confirmed the existence of West Nile virus in a mosquito pool taken from around the old GM plant in Ontario.

West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While most people will show no symptoms, it can lead to West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease.

Here are some things to know about West Nile Virus:

  • Most people who are infected with it won’t develop any type of illness. However, you cannot know ahead of time if you’ll get sick or not when infected.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 20% of people who become infected with the virus will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.
  • The CDC also estimates that approximately one in 150 persons infected with the virus will develop a more severe form of disease such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis. These symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
  • Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and those with medical conditions (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with West Nile Virus.

Richland Public Health is conducting weekly mosquito spraying in contracted areas. In Ontario, where the infected mosquito was found,  Fourth Street and north  were sprayed on Tuesday, June 16. Ontario is scheduled for spraying on July 2 but that will be moved to July 1 if rain is possible on Thursday.

Richland County had a confirmed case of West Nile virus in 2012 but none since then.

Some tips to avoid possible mosquito bites:

  • Typically mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn (roughly between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. during summers in Ohio). However, mosquitoes known to cause California La Crosse encephalitis/meningitis also bite during the daylight hours.
  • When outdoors, be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes, and socks.  Light colors are less attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Follow label directions especially when applying to young children. A concentration of 30 percent DEET for adults and 10 percent or less for children is effective.
  • The best way to eliminate the possibility of mosquito bites is to eliminate breeding sites. “Recent rains combined with warmer weather have made conditions favorable for mosquito breeding,” said Work. “Mosquitoes breed in standing water if it lasts at least seven days.”

To eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home:

  • Recycle all unused tires or make sure they are not holding water. Each tire can become a breeding area for thousands of mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate all water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flowerpots, from your property.
  • Eliminate or drain water features or areas on your property where standing water lasts more than seven (7) days.
  • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and drain properly.
  • Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.  Keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers.
  • Change water in birdbaths weekly.
  • Change water in kiddie pools regularly and eliminate standing water that collects around the edges of the pools.

More information on mosquitoes is available at the Richland Public Health website You can click here to go to the link. You can also call Environmental Health at 419-774-4520.

Detailed information on mosquito-spread diseases is also available from the Centers for Disease Control: click here to head to that page.