Friday, August 23, 2013

West Nile Virus in Ohio this year

The Ohio Department of Health identified the first human case of West Nile Virus in the state Tuesday in a 72-year-old woman in Cuyahoga County, officials have reported.  Despite the finding, ODH Director Ted Wymyslo expressed optimism over the comparatively lower rates of such incidents in the state this year.  ODH's public health laboratory previously received federal dollars to test mosquitoes for the virus. The department, however, was forced to change its program and work with local health departments in various regions of the state to conduct mosquito surveillance and testing this year following federal funding cuts.  Data acquired through these new partnerships suggests that the percent of mosquitoes that test positive for WNV remains 10 times below what it was during the same period of 2012. The first human case reported last year also came in late July, officials noted - nearly a month earlier than what's normal for the state.  Following the discovery, Director Wymyslo encouraged Ohioans to protect themselves from the mosquito-borne virus by using insect repellent and eliminating containers the collect water from yards.

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