Here's how to protect yourself from West Nile virus this summer

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 06:35:44-04

CINCINNATI -- Health officials reported Monday mosquitoes trapped in Franklin County, two hours from Cincinnati, have tested positive for the West Nile virus.

That means it's time for Hamilton County Public Health to continue trapping mosquitos closer to home and ensure that our local insects, brought out by a wet spring and dry summer, aren't carrying the deadly pathogen.

"This year could be a bad year for mosquitoes," director of environmental health Jeremy Hessel said.

He and his colleagues use multiple means across 11 trapping sites to capture mosquitoes, freeze them and examine them under a microscope to determine whether or not they carry the virus.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 17 Ohioans became infected with West Nile in 2016. Four of them died. Although the virus has not appeared in Greater Cincinnati yet in 2017, Hessel encouraged Tri-Staters to practice prevention at all times and be pro-active about their own health.

Some of the most important steps you can take to stay safe from mosquito-borne illnesses include using bug spray every day and draining standing water in your neighborhood to prevent them from reproducing or congregating.

And, if you begin to suspect a bite has made you sick, don't second-guess yourself.

"If you have any symptoms of a fever, nausea or a rash, I would definitely go see a physician," he said.

You can find more information about West Nile virus here.