Saturday, June 12, 2004

West Nile found in Sycamore Twp.



By Matt Leingang
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mosquitoes found in Sycamore Township are the first in Ohio to test positive for the West Nile virus this year, health officials said Friday.

"The chances of anyone developing severe symptoms from West Nile virus remain small, especially if residents do their part to eliminate mosquito breeding sites on their property and take precautions to avoid mosquito bites," said Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram.

The infected mosquitoes were found in a stormwater drain at the end of Yakima Drive.

County environmentalists, who began trapping mosquitoes last month, canvassed the neighborhood Friday, looking for pools of standing water and uncovered swimming pools - two known breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Officials also went door-to-door, handing out prevention brochures to residents. Among the precautions:

• Avoid mosquito-infested areas or stay indoors when mosquitoes are active, usually in the evening and early morning. When outdoors, consider wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks.

• Use colognes and perfumes sparingly.

• Adults, with the exception of pregnant women, should consider using insect repellent containing no more than 30 percent DEET. Insect repellent should never be used on infants and repellent for children should contain no more than 10 percent DEET, according to the state Department of Health.

No human transmission of the virus has been reported this year in either Ohio or Kentucky. The virus is passed to people by bites of mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds.

West Nile virus arrived in the United States in 1999 and has spread across the continental United States. Most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito do not show symptoms or signs of the illness - which include a slight fever, body aches, neck stiffness, vomiting and confusion.

Fewer than 1 percent of people bitten by an infected mosquito become severely ill, officials say.

The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at greatest risk for infection. In the most serious cases, it can induce a deadly inflammation of the brain.

A 79-year-old man from Scioto County reported symptoms in April, but further testing ruled it out.

Last year in Ohio, there were 14 confirmed human cases and 94 probable cases reported. Eight people died.

Kentucky reported 14 confirmed human cases in 2003, including one death.

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E-mail mleingang@enquirer.com




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