Ohio records first human cases of West Nile

FILE - This undated file photo from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows an aedes aegypti mosquito on human skin. The popular push for locally-produced food has spawned flocks of backyard chickens in urban neighborhoods nationwide, but as these chickens grow in popularity, pests hitch rides on them and end up biting the family dogs and cats. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture, File)
FILE - This undated file photo from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows an aedes aegypti mosquito on human skin. The popular push for locally-produced food has spawned flocks of backyard chickens in urban neighborhoods nationwide, but as these chickens grow in popularity, pests hitch rides on them and end up biting the family dogs and cats. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Department of Health says Ohio has its first human cases of West Nile Virus.

A 24-year-old woman from Muskingum County and a 78-year old woman from Cuyahoga County are infected.

The state says both are hospitalized with encephalitis.

“We could possibly see a growing number of human cases of the West Nile Virus infection and positive mosquito samples throughout the state,” said ODH State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio. “Ohioans should remain vigilant and take all reasonable precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites.”

The state started testing mosquitoes in July. It has calculated about 120 positive samples. Another 10 positive readings come from local health departments.

The ODH offers some tips to avoid West Nile:

  • If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks
  • Light colors are least attractive to mosquitoes
  • Use insect repellent and follow the label directions

To stop mosquitoes from breeding:

  • Remove water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flower pots
  • Eliminate standing water
  • Make sure all roof gutters are properly draining and clean
  • Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used

Symptoms of West Nile often never surface, if they do, it usually takes between three and 14 days after a mosquito bite.

To learn more, visit the Ohio Health Department’s web site.

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