West Nile remains a concern in central Ohio


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Cooler weather does not necessarily mean the threat of West Nile virus is over.

In fact, according to the Ohio Department of Health, mosquitoes are likely to stick around until the first frost, which can come as late as October.

“We see mosquitoes whenever it’s warm and whenever it’s raining and we’re still seeing mosquitoes in our community to this day,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, the medical director and assistant health commissioner at Columbus Health.

When it comes to the threat of disease, everyone is at risk, Dr. Roberts said.

However, some are more susceptible to falling ill than others.

“Individuals who are older or who have some other medical conditions like diabetes, like cancer, are more at risk for some of the complications of West Nile virus and more likely to get a serious illness from the West Nile virus,” she said.

Symptoms are difficult to catch as four out of five people exposed to the virus will not show any at all, Dr. Roberts said.

Dr. Roberts said symptoms that do appear are often similar to those of the common cold or flu, such as fever or headaches.

So far this year there have been 10 human cases of West Nile virus in Ohio. In 2016 there were 17 cases, including four deaths.

Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites, according to the Ohio Department of Health:

  • If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

Here are some tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:

  • Eliminate standing water.
  • Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
  • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.

Learn more about mosquitoes and West Nile virus by clicking here.