SYMMES TWP., Ohio — Mosquitoes that were recently trapped on Union Cemetery Road in Symmes Township have tested positive for West Nile virus, the Hamilton County Public Health department announced Wednesday.
Department staff will conduct surveillance in Symmes Twp. where the mosquitoes were initially collected.
"We can all take action to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites," Tim Ingram, Hamilton County Health Commissioner, said in a press release. "West Nile was first identified in Ohio in 2001, so it's not new to our area, but we like to take the opportunity to remind everyone to take precautions."
Hamilton County Public Health advises residents to drain standing water, dunk mosquito larvicide into standing water that cannot be drained and protect homes and outdoor spaces.
The department suggests the following steps:
- 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 or eucalyptus. Always follow the directions on the package.
The West Nile virus affects the central nervous system, and can be transmitted to humans directly by mosquitoes. Most people bitten by an infected mosquito will never become sick, or show symptoms. However, up to 20 percent of people who become infected may have symptoms such as fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a rash.
Less than one percent of people infected with the West Nile virus develop severe symptoms, but those symptoms can last several weeks and neurological effects can become permanent.
Residents over the age of 50 have the highest risk of developing severe infections, and anyone experiencing similar symptoms should contact a healthcare provider for evaluation.