CINCINNATI - An 80-year-old Hamilton County man died Tuesday from complications of West Nile Virus, according to information from Hamilton County Public Health.
The victim has been identified as Richard Wesp, a longtime teacher at Anderson High School.
Wesp taught 57 years at Anderson High School as the choral director. The Forest Hills School District says Wesp taught 400,000 students during his tenure.
"He was a teacher that was so dedicated to students, cared about them in every decision every action that he had, he was always thinking about his students," said former Anderson High School Principal Diana Carter.
When he retired in the summer of 2011 the Ohio Teachers Retirement System said Wesp was the longest tenured teacher in state history.
"He was a very special man who impacted so many kids, there are many generations that live in the Forest Hills School District that were impacted by him, he was well loved," Carter said.
Health Commissioner Tim Ingram said in a news release that Wesp's death should remind Tri-State residents of the precautions they should take against West Nile Virus.
“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,” Ingram said in a news release. “While this is certainly a tragedy, it can also serve as an important reminder to take every precaution to prevent mosquito bites.”
Wesp is the second Hamilton County resident, and the 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 West Nile Virus and 1,172 positive mosquito samples.
West Nile Virus is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system that can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will never become sick, according to information from Hamilton County Public Health. Symptoms may develop two to 15 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito and include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.
While all residents of areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk, people older than 50 years old and those with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of developing severe West Nile Virus infections. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for evaluation.
For more information on West Nile Virus, contact Hamilton County Public Health at (513) 946-7800 or visit them online at www.HamiltonCountyHealth.org .
Wesp's family will host a visitation Sunday, Sept 23 from 3 - 6 p.m. at Anderson Center (7850 Five Mile Road). Go to www.tpwhite.com/ for more information.
Richard's Funeral Services will take place Monday, Sept. 24 at 11:30 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral (318 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, OH - http://christchurchcincinnati.org/ ) .
Friends may send cards and condolences to Richard Wesp Family, c/o St. James Episcopal Church, 3207 Montana Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45238. You also may send sympathy e-mail messages to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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