Lake County health officials caution residents to take precautions in wake of West Nile outbreak

PAINESVILLE, Ohio - Health officials are warning residents to take precautions as they say the number of West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes is on the rise in Lake County this year.

While the county has yet to have any West Nile virus cases among residents, 2012 has been the worst year for West Nile in many parts of the country.

As of the latest survey of data, the CDC says 693 cases of West Nile virus, including 26 deaths, have been reported in 43 states. The 693 cases reported so far is the highest number through this point of the year since the virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.

The Lake County General Health District offers the following tips on reducing the risk of West Nile virus:

· Get rid of natural (puddles) and artificial (containers) sources of standing water. 

· Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs.  Keep them covered when empty.

· Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted trays at least once a week, if not more often.

· Contact the health department with concerns about malfunctioning septic systems.

· Avoid being outside at dawn/dusk.  If you cannot avoid those times, use a repellent.

· Use an insect repellent containing Picaridin 10% or less DEET (N, N-diethyl-methyl-meta-tolumide) for children - no more than 30% DEET for adults.  Use repellents according to label instructions.

· Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks if you go outside when mosquitoes are most active (from dusk until dawn).

· Make sure window and door screens are "bug tight."  Repair or replace torn screens.

· Call the LCGHD if you have a concern about standing water that may be breeding mosquitoes.  If it is on private property, permission is needed to enter the property.

For more info on West Nile virus and prevention: http://on.wews.com/Oetkh0

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