LAKE COUNTY - The Ohio Department of Health confirms a mosquito pool has tested positive for West Nile Virus in Lake County.
Though the positive pool was collected near the Painesville/Mentor border, ODH said it's likely that infected mosquitoes are flying all throughout the county.
"This is confirmation that the WNV threat is present and will likely increase for the rest of the summer," explained Nancy Niehus with the Lake County General Health District. "Over the years, it has been common to find a positive WNV mosquito pool during this time of year."
The lack of rain and abundance of heat already this summer aren't helping. The health district said the infected insects are more resistant to drought conditions and more readily spread the virus within the bird population, which serves as the host for WNV.
Lake County isn't the first to see WNV this year. There have been 14 additional positives in Ohio, including 10 infected mosquito pools in Franklin County and four in Summit County this season.
In 2011, Ohio had 586 West Nile Virus-positive mosquito pools, or 290,840 infected mosquitoes. There was also 21 human WNV cases reported last year, including one fatal case and one human WNV case in Lake County.
The Lake County Health District will continue to find, eliminate, and treat mosquito-breeding sites. "Do your part to control breeding sites," Niehus urged.
Here are some tips for homeowners to reduce the risk of WNV:
- Dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools, plastic covers or other containers that collect and hold water.
- Keep roof gutters unclogged and clean them in the spring and fall.
- 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.
- Fill or drain puddles, ditches, and swampy areas and either remove, drain, or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar.
- Contact your local health department with concerns regarding malfunctioning septic systems.
- Get rid of standing water around animal watering troughs.
- Water lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.
- Avoid being outside at dawn/dusk. If you cannot avoid those times, use an insect repellent containing 10 percent or less DEET for children, and no more than 30 percent DEET for adults.
- Do not use DEET insect repellent on infants or if you're pregnant. DEET insect repellent is effective for about four hours. Wash treated skin and clothing after returning indoors.
- 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.
- Replace outdoor lights with yellow "bug lights."
You can call the Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) at (440) 350-2543 if you have any questions.
On the Web:
Ohio Department of Health: http://on.wews.com/Nfj6u2
Lake County General Health District: http://www.lcghd.org/mosquito