Mosquito trap tests positive for West Nile Virus in Middleburg Heights

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A mosquito trap in Middleburg Heights has tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The Department of Health said it is not unusual for mosquitoes to be identified with West Nile Virus at this time of year. The ODH traps mosquitoes to locally monitor any disease activity.

No human cases of West Nile Virus have been found in Ohio so far, but over a dozen cases of mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus across the state.

Anthony Hersh hasn't worried too much about West Nile Virus yet this summer, until he discovered a mosquito trap in Middleburg Heights tested positive for the virus. That made him think twice about putting on bug spray.

"Just today I was in Middleburg Heights, and my friend I was playing disc golf with had some and I wasn't getting bit, so I didn't accept his offer or anything, which is kind of ironic," he said.

West Nile Virus usually starts to pick up in August and September.

"Typically in the state of Ohio we have several deaths each year from WNV. So it is something that can be fatal," said Dr. Claudia Hoyen, the director of infection control at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

She recommends starting around your house to prevent mosquito bites.

"Making sure all your screens are intact and functioning, and there aren't any ways for mosquitoes to get into your house," she said.

Hoyen says about 80 percent of people who contract West Nile Virus do not show any symptoms. But if you do get symptoms, it's like the flu -- with fever, body aches and headaches.

Elderly people usually have more severe symptoms like meningitis and need to be hospitalized.

"There is no treatment for these viruses, we can't predict who will get really sick, so the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to prevent the infection from starting," Hoyen said.

Here are several tips to prevent mosquito activity and reduce human exposure:

  • Clean, drain and cover pools or hot tubs if not in use.
  • Dispose of containers that collect water such as buckets, scrap tires, cans, and flower pots.
  • Eliminate areas of standing water.
  • Empty and refill bird baths at least once a week.
  • Fill tree holes with tar or cement.
  • Keep children indoors during times of peak mosquito activity - one hour before and one hour after sunset.
  • Repair leaky outdoor faucets that leave puddles.
  • Tightly screen all openings of your home.
  • Unclog all gutters and drains.
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil on both skin and clothing.
  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers arms and legs.

Please contact the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to report areas of standing water or heavy populations of mosquitoes.

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