DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A 71-year-old Lake County man requiring hospitalization has been confirmed as Ohio’s first West Nile Virus case this year.
“Although the one case of West Nile was not here in Montgomery County, there are mosquitoes that have West Nile throughout Ohio, and that includes Montgomery County,” said Dan Suffoletto, Public Information Supervisor for Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County.
In a release from Ohio Department of Health, state epidemiologist and chief of ODH Bureau of Infectious Diseases, Sietske de Fijter, said the West Nile Virus activity is the highest across the state this early in the season since 2012.
“Right now, at this time of year, they’re detecting more mosquitoes with West Nile Virus than usual,” said Suffoletto.
So far, 20 Ohio counties have tested mosquitoes positive for West Nile Virus, and diseases transmitted by mosquitoes mostly occur between May and October, meaning there are still months until the threat has died down.
The primary way people get West Nile Virus is through a mosquito bite, so Suffoletto said the best prevention is to cover your body by wearing long sleeves, pants, and long socks when outdoors, wear insect repellent with Deet and remove all standing water from your yard.
“Mosquitoes do not fly very far,” said Suffolleto. “They have a very short range, so if you can protect your area and your home and everyone on the block does the same, that could really go a long way to helping out.”
Suffoletto said about 80 percent of people infected will show no symptoms and the disease will clear up in a few weeks, but it can be deadly.
Last year, Ohio Department of Health reported five deaths, so if you exhibit signs such as a high fever, headache, muscle weakness, or other flu-like symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately.