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Ohio Logs First-Of-The-Summer West Nile Case

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 4:39 PM

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An 11 year old boy from Cuyahoga County is the first in Ohio to be diagnosed with a case of West Nile Virus this summer, and is reported to be recovering. Ideastream's Bill Rice has more on the disease, and what to expect this year.

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes.  In extreme cases it can cause serious, life-altering and even fatal disease such as encephalitis and meningitis.  However, most people infected will feel nothing at all, while others may experience mild flu-like symptoms. 

While the number of cases has been down in recent years, the Ohio Department of Health’s Kristopher Weiss says west Nile Virus is hard to predict. 

Bite:  “The most cases we’ve ever reported was in 2002 with 441.  Since that time we’ve reported as many as 108 in 2003, and as few as 12 in 2012.  But again we really don’t know how the virus is going to behave in any given season, so it’s a good idea to avoid mosquito bites.”

During that peak year in 2002, 31 West-Nile related deaths were reported in Ohio, and 284 nationwide.

Weiss advises Ohioans to get rid of containers that hold standing water, make sure the gutters on homes are draining properly, and wear light colored , long sleeved clothing.  And, of course, use mosquito repellent. 

Weiss says it appears the West Nile Virus is hitting Ohio a little later than usual this year, and will likely be a risk until the first frost, when mosquitos die off for the winter. 

Bill Rice, 90.3. 

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