Preventing West Nile Virus in Ohio

by WHIZ Reporter on August 1, 2012 at 6:27 am

The number of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus has hit its highest level since 2002.

So far this year this year, the Ohio Department of Health confirms 374 mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile, while at this time last year that number was only at 59.

Health officials said last week, the first human case of West Nile Virus was confirmed in an 85-year-old Clermont County man.

Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department Medical Director Doctor Vicki Whitacre said when it comes to avoiding West Nile Virus, the key word is prevention.

"There are some body lotions that tend to help repel mosquitos, but they only last about 20 minutes of a half an hour, so you could use those for a brief time to be outside, but protect yourself," said Whitacre.  "If you’re getting bit, get away from that area, go back indoors."

To avoid possible infection the Ohio Department of Health recommends avoiding outdoor activity during dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active, and using mosquito repellents containing the chemical "deet".

Whitacre said those who have been bitten by mosquitoes may want to keep an eye on any unusual symptoms that could be a sign of infection.

"Fever, aching all over, feeling bad, headache and as long as you feel like you can handle it with some Tylenol and symptomatic care you’re fine," said Whitacre.  "If you’re really feeling bad or the patient becomes confused or stuporous, they need to be seen immediately– take them to the hospital."

The Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department does offers spraying for mosquitoes. Those interested in having their neighborhood sprayed can call 454-9741 Ext. 300.