People Protest Spraying Mosquitoes To Stop Spread Of Deadly Virus

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – All across northeast Ohio, people have expressed concerns about the potentially deadly West Nile virus, but some people are actually trying to stop their communities from spraying to stop the mosquitoes that spread the disease, Action News' Denise Strzelczyk reported.

West Nile virus killed six people in the United States last year and it has already been found in most northeast Ohio counties this year. Still, that's not convincing enough for Mary Keating to support spraying any pesticides in her Cleveland Heights neighborhood.

"The chances of getting West Nile virus are so slim," she said. "It's something like one in 300,000. You have better chances of being struck by lightning."

That's why Keating is banding together with other people from Cleveland Heights and the Beachwood area to stop any more spraying unless a documented case of West Nile is found in the neighborhood. They have said that spraying doesn't work.

"They are inefficient," Cleveland Heights resident Joyce Roper said. "They kill only about 1 percent of the adult mosquito population."

Cuyahoga County Health Department officials disagree, and so does Painesville resident Kathie Grinstead. Her son Tyler is in the hospital suffering from encephalitis -- a disease doctors have said that he got from a mosquito bite.

"He has lesions on his brain and they believe it's all stemming from a mosquito bite," Grinstead said.

Tyler's doctors have ruled out West Nile and he is expected to recover, but the whole ordeal has Kathie convinced that spraying for West Nile is better than choosing not to.

"I've seen what he's gone through in the last two weeks that we've been in the hospital, and I would rather have them spray than have the kids go through this."

West Nile virus is extremely rare in people, but its symptoms include fever, headache and body aches in mild cases. In more severe cases, which can produce encephalitis, symptoms include a stiff neck and confusion.