Lake County sees first West Nile virus samples

MENTOR, Ohio - The West Nile virus has made its first appearance of the season in Lake County, its General Health District announced today.

The virus was found in two mosquito test samples collected in mid-July, the department said. More than 30 samples in Ohio have tested positive for the virus this season, but no human cases have been reported, the health district adds.

It is in the elderly or those with other diseases or weaker immune systems that the disease takes its biggest toll, turning into meningitis or encephalitis in the worst cases.

In 2012, the first Ohio case of West Nile came about a month earlier. It was a year where the state saw the highest number of human cases, 121, since 2002, when the number of cases shot up from zero the two previous years to 441 and resulted in 31 Ohio deaths.

The numbers dropped in the years to come, reaching a decade low of two in 2009.

Since 2002, the state tests on average between a quarter to a half million mosquitoes annually in an effort to stay ahead of any possible spread.

The Lake County General Health District recommends that residents reduce the risk for West Nile and other mosquito-borne viruses by reducing standing water around their homes, using insect repellant and wearing long sleeves. 

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