DAYTON — The Ohio Department of Health has recorded Montgomery County’s first case of West Nile virus (WNV) in 2018.
A 68-year-old female resident has been diagnosed with the disease. WNV is a potentially serious illness that is most commonly spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. As of Aug. 27, there have been eight human cases of WNV in Ohio and one death.
Last year there were 34 cases and five deaths in Ohio and none in Montgomery County.
“We have seen a rise in the number of mosquitos that are testing positive for West Nile Virus, said Public Health’s Medical Director Michael Dohn, MD. “And as those numbers rise, it greatly increases the chances of people becoming infected.”
Approximately 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all. Up to 20 percent of those infected have mild symptoms such as fever, body aches, and swollen glands. Symptoms can last a few days, though in some cases, they may last for several weeks.
About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. Severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. If you are experiencing any of these severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent WNV but there are steps the public can take to help protect themselves.