Hamilton County Public Health is reporting that an 80-year-old Hamilton County man died today from complications of West Nile Virus. He is the second Hamilton County resident, and third Ohioan, to die of West Nile-related causes this year. A 76-year-old Hamilton County man died in August. Ohio has recorded 79 human cases of WNV and 1,172 positive mosquito samples.
“We at Hamilton County Public Health express our deepest sympathy to the family of the second Hamilton County resident to succumb to complications from West Nile Virus,” says Health Commissioner Tim Ingram. “While this is certainly a tragedy, it can also serve as an important reminder to take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites.”
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system that can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. It is important to note that most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will never become sick. Everyone, however, should be aware of the symptoms of WNV. Symptoms may develop two-15 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.
No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 80 percent of people (about four out of five) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.
Milder Symptoms in Some People. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected will display symptoms which can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have been sick for several weeks.
Serious Symptoms in a Few People. It is estimated that approximately one in 150 (less than one percent) persons infected with West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of disease. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks and neurological effects may be permanent.
While all residents of areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk, people over age 50 and those with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of developing severe WNV infections. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for evaluation.
Hamilton County Public Health reminds residents to:
DRAIN, DUNK and PROTECT:
• Look for and drain sources of standing water on your property – litter, tires, buckets, flower pots, wading pools and similar items that could create standing water and become mosquito breeding sites.
• Frequently change water in bird baths and pet bowls.
• Drain small puddles after heavy rainstorms.
• Be sure to be diligent in looking for standing water after rainstorms and include inspections of gutters, roofing, outdoor fixtures and furniture.
• Apply mosquito larvicide, sometimes called mosquito “dunks,” to areas of standing water that cannot be drained. The “dunks” are environmentally safe and won’t harm pets. You can purchase them at your local hardware store.
• Cut your grass and trim shrubbery. This will help to eliminate mosquito resting places.
• Make sure screens in windows and doors are tight-fitting and free from defects.
• Wear long sleeves and pants during peak mosquito hours – dawn and dusk.
• Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always follow the directions on the package.
Be sure to re-apply insect repellent at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. If you fall into one of the high-risk groups, pay close attention to what time of day you are outside and dress properly. Do not hesitate to contact your physician if you have symptoms as described above.
• For more information on West Nile Virus, contact Hamilton County Public Health at (513) 946-7800 or visit us online at www.HamiltonCountyHealth.org.
• Download our Homeowner’s Guide: www.hamiltoncountyhealth.org/files/MosBrochure.pdf.
• View a West Nile Virus video at bit.ly/OLoad4.