Lake County confirms first 2018 human case of West Nile Virus

LAKE COUNTY, Ohio – The Lake County General Health District has confirmed this year’s first case of a human contracting West Nile Virus.

The illness is Ohio’s first of 2018 and Lake County’s first since 2017.

The Willoughby resident who contracted the disease is under the care of a doctor.

Earlier in  July, Lake County had identified a mosquito pool that had tested positive for the virus. A pool is a collection of no more than 50 mosquitoes. That particular pool was from Madison and was tested on June 26.

West Nile Virus is most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes. Most people who become infected don’t have any symptoms, but a small percentage of those infected will develop mild symptoms which include fever, head, body and joint aches, vomiting, diarrhea and a rash.

More severe symptoms of the illness include encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain, or meningitis, which is inflammation of the brain’s lining and spinal cord.  People over 60 years of age and those with preexisting medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and transplant recipients are at the highest risk for developing the more serious type of this illness.

West Nile Virus is native to Lake Count and the state of Ohio since 2001. It is considered to be a long-term public health threat. There is no vaccine or specific medication for the disease, although over-the-counter medications may help alleviate the symptoms.

The Health District has these tips to reduce the chances of getting infected:

* Use insect repellent registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on exposed skin and clothing. Always follow the package directions when using repellents.

* Wear long sleeves and pants after dusk through dawn when mosquitoes are the most active.

* Wear permethrin-treated clothing to repel and kill mosquitoes.

* Install or repair screen doors or windows or use air-conditioning when available.

* Empty standing water from containers such as flower pots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, old tires and bird baths

For more information on West Nile Virus, you can click here.