August 15, 2002 at 7:09 PM EST - Updated July 1 at 8:55 AM
*The Cuyahoga County Board of Health is spraying to kill mosquitoes that could possibly be carrying the deadly West Nile virus. For specific spraying information, go to www.ccbh.net or call (216) 443-5679.
CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Health Department confirmed on Thursday that another northeast Ohioan has been diagnosed with having the West Nile virus, and more suspected cases are popping up on the North Coast, Action News' Wendy Gillette reported.
These revelations come just one day after the first human cases were confirmed.
The newest confirmed case is a 40-year-old man from Old Brooklyn, who is being treated at the Cleveland Clinic. He joins a 76-year-old Brook Park woman and a 26-year-old Columbus man as the only human cases of West Nile virus.
There are, however, other cases currently under investigation in Brook Park, Cleveland Heights, Lakewood and Shaker Heights.
Health officials said that the latest person to be diagnosed with the West Nile virus is not doing well. His condition makes this latest case different from the other two cases.
The Columbus man was treated and released and the condition of Brook Park resident Betty Wayne, who is being treated at Southwest General in Middleburg Heights, has improved since she was first diagnosed.
Action News talked to some of Wayne's neighbors, including Dallas Duncan, but they said that they weren't overly concerned.
"You gotta do what you gotta do, regardless of what happens," Duncan said.
Another neighbor, Shirley Wise, said that she chatted with Wayne outside of her house just a couple of days before she became sick.
"We were sitting out there and we did say that we had better go in because the mosquitoes were coming out," Wise said. "But they had just sprayed the night before. They sprayed two days in a row."
Wise said that she isn't overwhelmed with fear, though she would be taking some precautions, like changing the water in her birdbath.
Health officials said that's the right thing to do.
The phones at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health were ringing nonstop on Thursday. Officials there said that they got approximately 20 calls an hour about West Nile.
"The biggest message is don't panic, don't fear,' health board spokesman B.J. Meder said. "With a situation like this, we have the public try to protect themselves from getting bit by mosquitoes."
To do that, Meder suggested: eliminating any standing water that collects on your property; removing all discarded tires and making sure that they're covered; changing the water in birdbaths at least once a week; keeping windows and doors closed and making sure that screens are in good condition; and wearing mosquito repellent containing DEET when outside (adults should use repellent with no more than 30 percent DEET, while children should use repellent with no more than 10 percent DEET).
The clinic wouldn't reveal the man's condition because his name has not been released, but health officials said that it was serious.