West Nile Found In Ohio; State Advises Precautions

By Olivia Van Arsdale, ’17

As of Aug. 19, there have been eight reported cases of West Nile Virus in the state of Ohio and one death; a 91-year-old man who developed encephalitis as a result of the infection.

West Nile Virus is a disease transmitted by a specific breed of mosquito.  While WNV is characterized by fever, headaches, body aches, and fatigue, only one fifth of those infected develop symptoms.  Of the one fifth, one percent develop neurological diseases such as meningitis or encephalitis.

Though eight cases and a death may seem daunting, WNV in Ohio has taken a significant decline in recent years.  In 2012, the state suffered a total of 122 cases, which went down to 24 in 2013, then to 11 in 2014. In addition, risk of contracting WNV becomes negligible as the weather becomes colder, because virus-carrying mosquitos die off at the end of the summer.

To protect yourself and others from WNV, officials instruct residents to dump standing water, which is where mosquitos breed. For further precaution, keep a screen on your window and wear bug spray when outside.