Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus discovered in Richland County

MANSFIELD – Richland Health Department officials have been notified by the Ohio Department of Health that West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes in Richland County.

“To be clear, this is not a case of human infection, but the first positive WNV mosquito samples in Richland County this year,” said Joe Harrod, director of environmental health at Richland Public Health.

Health officials will continue to conduct surveillance activities and take appropriate mosquito control measures to prevent the transmission of the mosquito-borne disease to the public.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus whose symptoms in humans are generally mild and often similar to the flu.

In extreme cases, WNV can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord), or death.

About 80 percent of people infected with WNV show no symptoms at all. Those affected usually experience symptoms three to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection. Care is based on controlling and/or relieving symptoms. The best prevention for West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites.

Richland Public Health's Mosquito Control Program conducts surveillance, treatments and spraying throughout the season to monitor mosquito populations and mosquito-borne diseases throughout the county.

Residents are asked to remove standing water and take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from mosquito bites.

Prevention of mosquito bites

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, including puddles, ditches with standing water, and containers such as old tires, buckets, cans, neglected swimming pools, and flower pots.

Mosquitoes can transmit diseases, including the West Nile virus, which can cause serious illness.

It is important to apply mosquito repellent during any outdoor activities where mosquitoes are active.

The Richland Health Department recommends that citizens follow the following tips to avoid mosquito bites:

 Make sure that doors and windows are fitted with tightly fitting fly screens.
 Repair or replace any broken fly screens in your home.
 Remove all old tires from your property.
 Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that contain water.
 Make sure gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in spring and fall.
 Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. When not in use,
Pools/saunas empty and covered.
 Drain water from pool covers.
 Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week.
 Turn plastic paddling pools, wheelbarrows, etc. over when not in use.
 Clear ditches of blockages to allow proper drainage.
 Remove standing water that collects on your property.
 Look for trees that collect water and fill them with soil, gravel or sand.
 Remind your neighbors to remove breeding sites on their properties or help them do so.
 Use insect repellent and follow the directions on the label.