COLUMBUS -- A 76-year-old man is the first person in Ohio to die this year in connection with the West Nile Virus.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, which reported the death, the Hamilton County man had been hospitalized with encephalitis.
The victim's name was not reported.
"We continue to see growing numbers of human cases of West Nile Virus infection and positive mosquito samples throughout the state," said ODH Director Ted Wymyslo, M.D. "Ohioans should remain vigilant and take all reasonable precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites."
To date, Ohio has recorded 49 human cases of West Nile Virus with 960 positive mosquito samples. Compared to this time last year, there were only two human cases and 450 positive mosquito samples.
2012 Ohio WNV Numbers at a Glance (as of Aug. 28, 2012):
- 46 human cases
- 1 human fatality
- 56 years: median age of human cases
- 4 years: youngest human case
- 87 years: oldest human case
- 31 counties have WNV-positive humans, mosquitoes and/or horses
- 960 positive mosquito samples
- 2 positive horses or other animals
Here are ways to avoid possible infection from mosquito bites according to ODH:
- Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks, especially if you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear light colors, which are least attractive to mosquitoes.
- Use insect repellent and follow the label directions.
To eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home:
- Remove all discarded tires and other water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flower pots, from your property.
- Eliminate standing water from your property.
- Make sure all roof gutters are clean and properly draining. Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs; keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers.
- Check rain barrels weekly and prevent them from becoming a mosquito breeding source. • Change water in bird baths weekly.
According to ODH, West Nile Virus can have no symptoms, or can lead to West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease. Here are more facts:
- Most people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not develop any type of illness. However, you cannot know ahead of time if you'll get sick once infected.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 20 percent of people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.
- CDC estimates that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with WNV will develop a more severe form of disease such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis.
- Severe symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
- Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immune-compromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting becoming ill when infected with WNV.