Positive test for West Nile Virus in Summit County is ninth in Ohio this year

AKRON, Ohio - The West Nile Virus has surfaced in Summit County, making it the ninth time a group of mosquito's tested positive for the virus in Ohio this year.

Judith Heasley knows how dangerous the West Nile Virus can be.

She said a family member spent more than a month in the hospital after getting bit by a mosquito carrying the disease just a few years ago.

"She recovered but she had a stroke, so there are a lot of side effects with it," said Heasley.

She said she took notice when she finds out mosquitoes caught less than a mile from the park she took her grandson to Tuesday tested positive for the disease.

"It brings it a little closer to home," said Heasley.

She said the mosquitoes are close enough to concern her but not a cause to panic.

"West Nile has been here for 10 years and it's going to be here forever," said Terry Tuttle with the Summit County Health District.

It's Tuttle's job to find out where the mosquitoes with West Nile are and get rid of them.

They set out nearly 30 traps a day in Summit County. A mixture of water and grass is left out for three days and then poured into a plastic bin to attract the insects.

The mosquitoes are trapped in a container that sits on top of the water.

Once the insects are trapped, 50 mosquitoes are loaded into small tubes and sent to Columbus to be tested for the West Nile Virus.

"We've submitted over 80,000 mosquitoes per year to the Ohio Department of Health," said Tuttle.

A group of those mosquitoes caught on Foxboro Avenue in Akron tested positive for West Nile.

While the cases have come down significantly since the virus first showed up in Summit County from 57 positive groups in 2002 to nine in 2010, Tuttle said the virus can still be dangerous or even deadly to older people or someone with other health problems.

"We know we have West Nile in the county, our job is just to find out where it is," said Tuttle.

No people or animals have tested positive for West Nile in Ohio this year -- but the virus was found in nine "groups" of mosquitoes.

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