July 24, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
71°F
test

West Nile virus found in Elyria

ELYRIA — The West Nile virus is rearing its ugly head again.

The Elyria City Health District confirmed that three of the 218 mosquito pools in the county tested by the state’s health department came back positive for the virus.

West Nile Virus protection

• Wear light-colored clothing, long-sleeve shirts or jackets, and long pants.
Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure.
Avoid mosquito-infested areas or stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active.
Avoid physical exertion and use colognes and perfumes sparingly, as these may attract mosquitoes.
Consider the use of mosquito repellant containing DEET, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors.
 

The pools — test tube batches containing no more than 50 mosquitoes — were collected using a gravid trap, which attracts female, egg-laying mosquitoes into a chamber before trapping them.

The positive batches were on the northeast and southeast sides of Elyria, according to the district environmental health director, Dave Oakes.

“(West Nile virus) has been here for six years, and it’s going to continue to be here,” he said. “This is nothing out of the ordinary.”

West Nile virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and can cause an influenza-like illness that may lead to aseptic meningitis, encephalitis or even death.

A Butler County resident remains the only case of a person in Ohio contracting West Nile this year. The state had four deaths and 48 reported cases last year.

While some mosquito breeds enjoy the damp weather prominent in recent weeks, Oakes said, others like it hot and dry and have found local homes throughout the drier summer months.

The Elyria City Health District has received a total of 29 reports of residents finding dead birds, but none have been crows or blue jays — breeds of birds for which the virus is almost exclusively fatal.

Oakes said residents should try to eliminate standing water spots such as old tires, water cans and clogged gutters where the potential for breeding occurs, and use an insect repellent containing DEET when outside.

“Mosquitoes are going to be here all the time,” Oakes said. “Residents need to be aware that they can protect themselves.”
The health district last sprayed for mosquitoes in 2005, and it only does so when a ratio of positive batches indicates it’s necessary.
Spraying for this year has not been ruled out, and Oakes said testing for the virus will continue through the beginning of October.

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.