West Nile Virus

Because West Nile virus (WNV) is here to stay, the Environmental Division no longer collects mosquitoes or dead birds for monitoring purposes.  Mosquitoes can develop in any standing water that lasts for a week or more.  You can prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property by taking a few simple steps.  Check them out by clicking here:  www.odh.ohio.gov and select “W” on the A-Z index, then select “West Nile Virus”.

Some facts about WNV:

  • WNV is spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes
  • mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds
  • infected mosquitoes also transmit the virus to other animals
  • many types of birds can carry WNV but crows and blue jays are more sensitive
  • horses can become ill or die from WNV
  • WNV is not transmitted person-to-person or animal-to-person
  • Only a few species of mosquitoes are known to transmit WNV

Most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will have no symptoms.  About 1 out of 150 people will have symptoms ranging from mild to severe.  Mild systems last only a couple days.  Mild symptoms of WNV in humans include:

  • mild fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches

Severe symptoms affect about 10-15% of those infected.  Serious symptoms include:

  • high fever
  • severe headaches
  • stiff neck
  • confusion
  • muscle weakness which can result in hospitalization with meningitis or encephalitis.
  • most people with severe illness due to WNV are over 50 years old

Protect yourself by taking these precautions:

  • avoid being outdoors during peak mosquito biting periods (dawn and dusk)
  • wear light colored, long sleeved shirts and long pants
  • make sure windows and doors are adequately screened (16-mesh) and screens are in good repair
  • when tent-camping, be sure to zip the screened entrance and window flaps (the screen mesh may allow mosquitoes through)
  • use colognes and perfumes sparingly
  • follow label directions on mosquito repellents
  • for children, use repellents that are recommended for use on children and follow manufacturers use guidelines
  • pregnant women should check with their doctor before using any repellant
  • check with your doctor before applying any repellant to your baby

More on West Nile Virus at Ohio Department of Health West Nile Virus