PREBLE COUNTY — Preble County Public Health (PCPH) reported last week it is investigating one suspected human case of West Nile Virus (WNV).
WNV is a potentially serious illness that is most commonly spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, PCPH officials said. As of Aug. 27, there have been eight human cases of WNV in Ohio, and one death.
Last year there were 34 cases and five deaths in Ohio, according to reports.
“About 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not show symptoms,” PCPH explained in a media release. “Up to 20 percent of those infected have mild symptoms such as body aches, swollen glands, and fever. These symptoms can last a few days, in some cases; they may last for several weeks.”
Approximately one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness according to officials. Severe symptoms may include headache, high fever, stupor, neck stiffness, coma, disorientation, convulsions, tremors, paralysis, muscle weakness and vision loss.
Currently there is no vaccine to prevent WNV but there are steps the public can take to help protect themselves.
PCPH reminds residents of the following:
•Apply repellents on exposed skin registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
•Wear clothing treated with permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent for extra protection.
•Use products according to label instructions to optimize safety and effectiveness.
•Don’t spray repellents on the skin under your clothing.
•Take extra care to use repellents from dusk to dawn.
•Wear light-colored clothing, long-sleeved shirts or jackets and long pants to protect against mosquito bites.
•Consider avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito biting hours.
•Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
•Empty standing water from flowerpots, buckets, barrels, tarps/covers and wheel barrows on a regular basis.
•Discard trash such as tin cans, plastic containers and other water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property.
•Dispose of discarded tires properly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out.
•Change the water in pet dishes frequently.
•Replace the water in bird baths weekly.
•Check and clean clogged roof gutters at least twice annually so they will drain properly.
•Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with mosquito-eating fish.
•Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, even those that are not being used.
•Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
•Consider using products containing Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), available at many garden and home improvement stores, to control mosquito larvae in containers that are too large to empty. Follow the label instructions.
•Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
•Use air conditioning, if you have it.
To keep up with other public health-related issues, visit Preble County Public Health online at www.preblecountyhealth.org, through Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrebleCoHealth and on Twitter at @PrebleCoHealth.
PCPH is also available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. by phone at 937-472-0087.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.