Tuesday, July 27, 2004

West Nile virus kills Butler man

Death is first for Ohio this year

By Matt Leingang
Enquirer staff writer

An 80-year-old Butler County man who died this month is Ohio's first human victim of the West Nile virus in 2004.

No other details about the man have been released. The Ohio Department of Health made the announcement Monday after receiving confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends," state Health Director Dr. J. Nick Baird said.

Residents are asked to eliminate standing water on their property and to pick up any containers - watering cans, coffee cans, soda cans - that hold water and provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The virus is passed to people by bites of mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds.

So far this year, there have been 182 human cases of the virus in 12 states, including 125 in Arizona.

Symptoms of the illness 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.

Last year in Ohio, there were 14 confirmed human cases and 94 probable cases reported. Eight people died, the first on July 18.

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


E-mail mleingang@enquirer.com

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