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LAKE COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus have been found in Lake County so the health department is encouraging residents to do their part to stop the pests from breeding around their homes.

The Ohio Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed the three positive mosquito pools, a collection of about 50 mosquitoes each, were collected in late July but it’s likely the positive mosquitoes are still in the county, according to a release from the Lake County General Health District.

“Identifying a positive pool is confirmation that the WNV threat is present and will likely increase for the rest of the summer,” the release says. “Positive WNV mosquitoes have also been reported in other Ohio counties this season.”

Environmental Health Supervisor for the LCGHD Bert Mechenbier said the virus is native to Lake County and Ohio since 2001 and is expected to be a long-term public health threat.

Because of the threat, the health district is asking property owners to participate in “Tip it Tuesday” where residents can look for, and tip over any container that is holding water to eliminate mosquito breeding locations.

“If this is done weekly, the mosquito life cycle will be broken, and less disease-carrying mosquitos will populate the area,” said Mechenbier.

To date, the health district says there have been no human cases of WNV reported in Ohio.

Twenty percent of people with West Nile Virus develop a fever along with a headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash, and usually recover completely, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says one in 150 people with the virus develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system, such as encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain; or meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Homeowners can also pick up these tips to keep the mosquito population at bay:

  • Keep swimming pools, saunas and hot tubs clean and chlorinated. Also, keep them covered when empty
  • Keep bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted trays clean, changing water at least once a week
  • Check for water in children’s toys
  • Fill or drain puddles, ditches, swampy areas and also tree holes
  • Contact the health department about malfunctioning septic systems
  • Avoid being outside from dusk until dawn, when mosquitoes are most active
  • If outside, use an insect repellent containing Picaridin or DEET
  • Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight” and repair or replace torn screens.

The health department’s mosquito program includes two full-time crews that inspect areas of standing water for mosquito larvae and, if needed, treat the area to kill the larvae. Crews also spray areas of the county in the evening to kill active adult mosquitoes.

For information about the spray routes and schedule, click here or call 440-350-2088.

For more information on the West Nile Virus, visit the Ohio Department of Health’s website here or the CDC’s website here.

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus have also been found in Tuscarawas County and Richland County in recent weeks.