The Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH) is reporting its first confirmed West Nile Virus (WNV) case of 2012. WNV encephalitis was confirmed in a 48-year-old Cleveland man who is currently hospitalized.
The Cleveland case brings Ohio's reported WNV infections up to two cases. The first human case of WNV was reported in Clermont County, which is near Cincinnati, Ohio. Both the Cleveland and Clermont County cases have appeared about a month earlier than what's been seen over the last several years.
According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), so far in 2012, 374 mosquito pools have tested positive for WNV (a mosquito pool is a collection of mosquitoes, usually about 50, of any given species or group).
At this time last year, the ODH lab had only recorded 59 WNV-positive mosquito pools. The recent heat across the region has contributed to an increase in mosquitoes and virus acceleration.
This year's early increase in WNV activity is similar to 2002, in which there were 299 positive pools by the end of July. By the end of the 2002 season, there were 441 human WNV cases and 31 people in Ohio died from WNV.
"We want the citizens of Cleveland and all of Northeastern Ohio to be diligent in protecting themselves against mosquito bites," said CDPH Director Karen K. Butler. "According to the Ohio Department of Health the number of West-Nile positive mosquito pools are up significantly across the state and it's important that residents of Ohio take note."