MONTPELIER, OH – The Williams County Health Department received confirmation of the first death caused by West Nile virus (WNV) in the state of Ohio in 2015. Throughout the state, there are 8 confirmed human cases of WNV so far this year.
The previously healthy 91-year-old Williams County man died on August 12th. The Williams County Health Commissioner, James Watkins, learned Tuesday that testing confirmed the person had West Nile virus.
The most common way people get West Nile virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not have any symptoms. About one in five people who become infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than one percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).
Serious illness can occur in people of any age. However, people over 60 years of age are at the greatest risk for severe disease. The deceased person was an elderly individual. People with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants, are also at greater risk for serious illness.
Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites:
• If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
• Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
• Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Here are some tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:
• Eliminate standing water.
o Remove and properly dispose of old tires. If they cannot be removed immediately, cut or drill holes in
the tire to prevent water from accumulating.
o Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
o Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
o Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.
For more information about mosquitoes and West Nile virus go to www.williamscountyhealth.org or call 419-485-3141.