The Cincinnati Health Department has announced the detection of a mosquito sample positive for West Nile virus, as reported in a recent press release.
This detection occurred through the health department’s regular mosquito surveillance in the area.
Grant Mussman, M.S., MHSA and Commissioner of Cincinnati Health Department, expressed concern about the virus’s transmission to humans, stating, “That is what we want to prevent. We encourage Cincinnati residents to implement some simple precautionary measures to protect themselves, their families, and their neighbors.”
The West Nile virus, known to affect the central nervous system, can be directly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. While the majority of individuals bitten by an infected mosquito will never develop symptoms, up to 20 percent of those infected may exhibit symptoms like fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and occasionally swollen lymph glands or a rash.
Less than one percent of those infected with West Nile virus develop severe symptoms. However, these symptoms can persist for weeks, and neurological effects may become permanent.
Residents above 50 years old are at the highest risk of developing severe infections. Anyone experiencing similar symptoms should reach out to a healthcare provider for evaluation. The presence of West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes has been previously confirmed in the Greater Cincinnati region. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn; however, species that bite during daytime hours are not typically known to carry the West Nile virus.
To deter mosquitoes in your vicinity, the health department recommends the following measures:
- Remove standing water sources in your yard, such as under flower pots, children’s toys, wheelbarrows, boats, tires, and puddles. Mosquitoes can breed even in minute quantities of standing water.
- Replace water in bird baths and outdoor pet dishes weekly to help eliminate stagnant water.
- Keep swimming pools circulating, clean and chlorinated, and remove water collecting on the pool cover.
- Empty out and overturn plastic wading pools or kiddie pools when not in use.
- Ensure gutters are clean to prevent standing water.
To protect oneself from mosquitoes:
- When outdoors for extended periods of time or during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing with shoes and socks.
- Use an EPA-approved mosquito repellent on exposed skin.
- Apply mosquito larvicide, sometimes known as mosquito “dunks,” to areas of standing water that can’t be drained. The “dunks” are environmentally safe and won’t harm pets. They can be purchased at your local hardware store.
- Repair or replace old and torn screens in doors, windows, and vents.