AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Public Health announced Wednesday that the West Nile Virus has been detected in the county.
The virus was found in mosquitos caught in a surveillance trap. MCPH did not say where the trap was located.
However, Austintown Local Schools said they were informed a mosquito trap close to their campus tested positive for the virus.
The school district will treat retention ponds on campus as a precaution and will not let students use the wetlands for educational purposes this fall.
“We are taking a proactive approach to address this issue. We are working with an insect control company, which will be fogging areas on the property to get rid of any existing adult mosquitoes in the area in addition to the precautions taken by Mahoning County Public Health,” said superintendent David Cappuzzello.
To date, there have been no human cases of the virus reported in Mahoning County, health officials said.
Cases are typically reported throughout Northeast Ohio yearly as the virus becomes more prevalent in the late summer months and into early fall.
“By applying larvacide, what we are doing is keeping the mosquito larva from maturing, therefore, keeping them from ever being able to bite that infected bird or bite people,” said Colton Masters, a spokesperson for Mahoning County Public Health.
Tips to avoid exposure include:
- Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes, and socks if you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
- Light colors are least attractive to mosquitoes
- Use insect repellent and follow the label directions
Tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home:
- Remove water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flowerpots
- 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 are not being used
The three most common mosquito-borne diseases that occur locally are Lacrosse Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
Early symptoms of mosquito-borne disease may include nausea, fever, vomiting, and headache.
More serious cases include drowsiness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, and possibly seizures. If you have any of these symptoms and have a history of recent mosquito bites, contact your physician.