West Nile Virus Discovered in Fairfield Co.

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August 24, 2022
From the Fairfield County Health Department

From The Fairfield County Health Department reported the first evidence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Fairfield County for 2022.  One pool of mosquitoes, collected on August 11th from traps monitored by the health department in the Village of Pleasantville, has tested positive for WNV.

The Health Department sprayed the village for mosquitoes on August 16th and again sprayed the area immediately around the trap site on August 18th. The next mosquito spraying in the village is scheduled for August 30th.

“The Fairfield County Health Department conducts mosquito surveillance across the county by trapping mosquitoes and sending them for testing by the Ohio Department of Health laboratory, allowing us to identify areas with WNV infected mosquitoes and better target our mosquito control efforts,” said Joe Ebel, Fairfield County Health Commissioner. Ebel added, “This summer we have collected over 1,800 mosquitoes for testing with 1.3% of sample pools testing positive for WNV. West Nile Virus cases typically rise in the late summer and early fall.”

Residents are encouraged to take personal protection measures to protect themselves and their families against possible WNV infection, according to the Health Commissioner.

To avoid possible infection from mosquito bites:

  • Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; if you must be outdoors, be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes, and socks
  • Wear light-colored clothing as mosquitoes are generally attracted to dark colors
  • Use insect repellent and follow the label directions

To eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home:

  • Eliminate all areas of standing water from your property such as discarded tires and other water-holding containers like buckets, cans, and unused flower pots
  • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and properly draining
  • Clean and chlorinate pools and hot tubs. Keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers
  • Change water in bird baths weekly

For more information about the programs and services provided by the Fairfield County Health Department, visit www.fairfieldhealth.org.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.  It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms.

About 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

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  • Symptoms of severe illness include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
  • Severe illness can occur in people of any age; however, people over 60 years of age are at greater risk for severe illness if they are infected (1 in 50 people). People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk.
  • Recovery from severe illness might take several weeks or months. Some effects to the central nervous system might be permanent.
  • About 1 out of 10 people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.