7 pools test positive for West Nile virus in Tuscarawas County

7 pools test positive for West Nile virus in Tuscarawas County

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The Tuscarawas County Health Department has been conducting trapping for the culex species of mosquito throughout the summer in Tuscarawas County. To date, the health department has trapped and submitted 15,450 mosquitoes to the Ohio Department of Health for testing. TCHD was notified on Sept. 16 that seven pools of mosquitoes in five different locations had tested positive for the West Nile virus.

The locations of the positive pools are as follows: Beaver Street in Newcomerstown, School Street in Tuscarawas, Ragersville Road in Sugarcreek (Auburn Township) with three positive pools, Sherman Street in Dennison and Jewett Avenue in Dennison.

The health department will respond to the positive pools according to Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

“We don’t want anyone in our community to panic,” said Caroline Terakedis, TCHD environmental health director. “We issue this notice to let residents know that West Nile virus infected mosquitoes are active in the area and to share steps you can take to help prevent exposure.”

Below is the current mosquito-spraying schedule:

—Monday, Sept. 27: Bolivar.

—Tuesday, Sept. 28: Warren Township.

—Wednesday, Sept. 29: Dover.

—Thursday, Sept. 30: Strasburg.

The above list replaced the previous spraying schedule released by the health department on Sept. 15.

In the case of rain, high winds or cold temperatures, spraying will be postponed. Persons with respiratory problems should take appropriate actions to remain indoors while spraying takes place.

West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Most people infected with WNV do not feel sick.

Symptoms of WNV

Eight out of 10 people infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms.

About 1-in-5 people who are infected with WNV will develop a fever (febrile illness) with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with febrile illness due to WNV recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

Prevention

Residents are encouraged to follow these recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health to avoid mosquito bites:

Use insect repellent when outdoors. When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent will provide extra protection.

Take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours and take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

Ways to mosquito-proof one's home include the following: install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside, use the air-conditioning if you have it, and help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths on a regular basis.

Taking these steps will help protect against mosquito-borne diseases including WNV, La Crosse virus and Zika virus. For information on mosquito-control activities or for up-to-date mosquito-borne disease information, visit www.tchdnow.org or call 330-343-5550.