Ohio’s first 2017 death in a human West Nile virus case has been reported by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The 74-year-old Defiance County man had been hospitalized with encephalitis.
The Ohio Department of Health is reporting a total of 10 human cases of West Nile virus across the state. Counties with at least one case include – Clark, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton (2), Logan and Summit. In recent years, Ohio reported 17 human West Nile Virus cases in 2016 including four deaths, 35 in 2015 including two deaths and 11 in 2014 including one death.
The primary way people get West Nile virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not have any symptoms. About one in five people who become infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).
“This time of the year, the risk of West Nile virus infection increases and individuals should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites,” said ODH State Epidemiologist and Bureau Chief of Infectious Diseases Sietske de Fijter. “Mosquito season in Ohio lasts until the first freeze which is not usually until mid-October.”