Hamilton County health officials find mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Silverton

CINCINNATI – Some mosquitoes found in Hamilton County have tested positive for West Nile virus.

That information comes from the county's public health office. Organization officials say within the past week they've trapped insects on Placid Place in Silverton that carried the viral disease.

"As part of our regular surveillance, we collected a number of mosquitoes in Silverton and sent them to the Ohio Department of Health to be tested. One of the samples tested positive for West Nile virus," said Mike Samet, the public information officer for Hamilton County Public Health.

WATCH: Hamilton County Public Health Video on West Nile Virus

West Nile, or WNV can be passed from mosquitoes to humans and affects the central nervous system. Symptoms may develop two to 14 days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.

While it is easily transmitted, it's important to note that most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will never become sick.

There have been no confirmed cases of West Nile in the Greater Cincinnati area. However there have been cases in other parts of the state.

Samet said Public Health staff will be conducting surveillance activities in the area where the mosquitoes were collected. 

Crews will look for areas of standing water, applying larvicide, making sure swimming pools are operating properly and advising residents on precautions they can take to avoid mosquito bites.

“It is important for residents to remember that we call all take action to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” said Greg Kesterman, the assistant health commissioner. “With the upcoming holiday weekend, many people will be enjoying the outdoors. We’re reminding folks to take precautions.”

Hamilton County Public Health advises all county residents to "drain, dunk and protect" in an effort to reduce the mosquito population and prevent the spread of West Nile virus.

  • 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.
  • 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. Purchase them at your local hardware store.
  • Cut your grass and trim shrubbery.
  • Make sure screens in windows and doors are tight-fitting and free from defect.
  • 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. 
Not everyone who is bitten by an infected mosquito will become sick. But everyone should be aware of the symptoms of WNV, according to Semet.
Hamilton County Public Health has released a series of facts about West Nile virus and symptoms to look for.

No Symptoms in Most People. Approximately 70-80 percent of people 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, and 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.  Less than one percent of people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. 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 have the highest risk of developing severe WNV 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 the organization's website .


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