Mosquito samples collected in Union County have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
According to the Union County Health Department, test results came in Friday from the Ohio Department of Health lab verifying a mosquito pool collected in the southeastern part of the county that tested positive for the virus. The sample was collected on July 18.
“We do mosquito surveillance and trapping starting around the end of May and running through to about October,” said Jennifer Thrush, public information officer with UCHD. “We freeze the samples and send them to the lab for results.”
The sample that tested positive was collected from an area north of Plain City but Thrush said it’s likely there are pools across the county that would test positive.
“It’s not uncommon to find a sample that tests positive. We sort of expect that to be the case,” she said. “It has just become the virus that has spread across our area.”
According to the state health department, the last reported human case of West Nile Virus in Union County was 2013 and the virus has been found in mosquitoes in Ohio since 2001.
“West Nile is the only virus we test for but we collect mosquito samples to determine all the species of mosquitos we have in the county because different species carry different viruses,” said Thrush. “That’s just all the more reason to take preventative measures to getting bitten.”
She said 80% of people who get bitten with a mosquito carrying the disease might not experience any symptoms at all but it depends on the person.
According to the state health department, those who do experience symptoms might see fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands or a rash on the chest, stomach or back.
Thrush said there are several ways to prevent mosquito bites and the UCHD recommends using bug spray, avoiding peak biting hours between dusk and dawn and wearing long sleeves and pants.
Residents can also protect their homes by removing standing water or items that hold water.
The health department is helping in the prevention by offering homeowners free mosquito dunks to kill larvae in rain barrels and small pools of standing water. They also track complaints about mosquitoes through an online reporting tool.
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