The first case of West Nile Virus in Ohio was confirmed in Clermont County July 27.
Although the virus can be serious, officials with the Clermont County Health Department are not surprised that a case has been confirmed in the county.
“We would have expected to see it at some point this summer,” Julianne Nesbit, assistant health commissioner for the county, said about the virus. “We expect every summer that there will be cases.”
An 85-year-old Union Township man was confirmed to be infected with the virus July 27. It was the first case in both Clermont County and Ohio.
Nesbit said the first case was discovered earlier than normal this year likely because of the drier weather we have already had this summer.
“A lot of people think because of the drought there would be fewer mosquitoes,” Nesbit said. “But they really like the nutrient rich bodies of water.”
She said mosquitoes also choose small, stagnant bodies of water for breeding.
Nesbit said the fear several years ago was that West Nile Virus was a new virus. She said now that health officials know more about the virus it is easier to educate people and recognize the symptoms.
“The elderly are more susceptible to it,” Nesbit said.
Nesbit said there are a range of symptoms that go along with the virus.
“Most people who get West Nile may not get any symptoms at all,” Nesbit said. “Twenty percent of people who are infected will actually develop West Nile Fever. Less than one percent will end up with a more severe form.”
She said the man who had the virus in Clermont County was confirmed to be infected after he was hospitalized with encephalitis.
Nesbit said the message the health department has for the public about West Nile Virus is really about education.
“Whether it is West Nile or something else, we recommend people protect themselves,” Nesbit said.
She said using bug repellent and wearing light colors especially in the morning and evening prevent mosquito bites. She said they also recommend eliminating small standing pools of water that could attract mosquitoes.
More information about West Nile Virus can be found at www.clermonthealthdistrict.org.