Programs & Services
Nursing Services- West Nile Virus - Portage County Health Department
Rosemary Ferraro R.N., B.S.N., Nursing Director
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WEST NILE VIRUS
What is the West Nile Virus?
The West Nile Virus, previously only found in
Africa, Eastern Europe and West Asia, appeared during the summer of
1999 in New York. It is carried by several kinds of mosquitoes that
infect birds, animals and people.
As of the summer of 2002, West Nile Virus has been identified in mosquitoes, birds, horses and humans in Ohio.
West Nile encephalitis cases occur primarily in the late summer or early fall, although the peak season is usually April-October. The virus is spread by mosquitoes after they feed on infected birds and then bite people or other animals. It is not spread by person-to-person contact. There is no evidence that people can get the disease by handling infected animals.
The virus was introduced in the summer of 1999 in New York City. Of the 61 people infected with the virus, 7 died. All of the people who died from the virus were age 75 or older.
Who is most at risk?
People over 50 years of age have the highest risk of developing severe illness because as we age, our bodies have a harder time fighting off disease. People with compromised immune systems are also at risk; however, anyone can get the virus.
What are the symptoms?
People with mild infections may experience fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. People with more severe infections may experience high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions and paralysis. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.
Is there treatment?
There is no specific treatment for a West Nile Virus infection. While most people fully recover from the virus, in some severe cases hospitalization may be needed.
How can I prevent mosquitoes from breeding?
Any time is a good time to eliminate areas where mosquitoes breed. Tear off this sheet and put it on your refrigerator for easy reference!
If the virus is found in my area, how can I protect myself?
If the virus is found in your area, there are several, easy ways you can protect yourself from getting bit by a mosquito.
449 S. Meridian St., 3rd Floor, Portage
County Admin. Bldg.