West Nile virus present in Galion


Andrea Barnes, the director of environmental health at the Galion City Health Department (GCHD), has received confirmation from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) of the presence of West Nile virus (WNV) in a pool of mosquitoes from a trap set in Galion. This is the first reported WNV mosquito pool found in the city of Galion corporation limits this season.

GCHD began mosquito surveillance activities this summer through a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA). The positive pool was collected in Galion on Aug. 14, and the ODH laboratory confirmed a sample had tested positive for WNV on Aug. 30.

Mosquitoes are an all too familiar part of summer and early fall. They are not only annoying but also present a potential health risk as carriers of disease. Eliminating mosquito habitats around a home can go a long way to reducing the mosquito population. Eliminate standing water whenever possible. Every five days, bird baths and baby pools should be emptied to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

GCHD has free mosquito dunks available to Galion residents and businesses to place in sources of standing water. The dunks prevent mosquito larvae growth. It is also recommended to use insect repellant as directed by the label, wear protective clothing at dawn and dusk, and repair window and door screens. GCHD also has free mosquito repellent wipes from the OEPA mosquito grant.

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Most individuals who are infected with WNV will not experience any illness. People who are 50 years of age and older have a higher chance of getting sick and are more likely to develop serious symptoms when infected with WNV.

Data also indicates those with diabetes and/or hypertension are at greatest risk for serious illness. Symptoms experienced by about 20-30% of people infected with WNV are similar to the flu, including fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, and swollen glands. Symptoms of more severe disease can include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, and paralysis. People with symptoms should consult their doctor.

For more information on WNV, visit the GCHD website at www.galionhealth.org. Additional statistics and information may be found at www.odh.ohio.gov.

Submitted by the Galion City Health Department.

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