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West Nile Virus Found in Knox County

August 26, 2015 - 12:29 PM

MOUNT VERNON - State-funded trapping and testing for mosquitoes in Knox County has resulted in the positive identification of two mosquitoes with West Nile Virus (WNV). The Knox County Health Department received notification of the positive results from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) which has been trapping mosquitoes in Knox County since June.


The positive samples were collected in a trap set on the northeast side of Mount Vernon between Vernonview Drive and Sychar Road. There were nearly 400 mosquitoes in the trap, but only two tested positive for WNV. Knox County joins

17 other Ohio counties with positive WNV activity including neighboring Richland and Licking counties. 


Nate Overholt, environmental health director with the local health department said the agency will conduct pesticide spraying tonight (8/26) in the area where the positive mosquitoes were trapped. “We will also treat areas of standing water with larvacide to help reduce the mosquito population.”


This summer ODH has placed 30 traps in different locations in Knox County trapping thousands of mosquitoes. About 1,700 of the biting insects have been of the Culex pipiens variety which is the primary vector in Ohio. The culex mosquitoes are the only ones being tested.


WNV is spread to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito, which gets the virus from biting an infected bird. The virus can cause an infection in humans that can lead to encephalitis. Many types of birds can be infected, but crows and blue jays are most likely to die from the disease. Horses are also prone to WNV.

As of this week, there have been nearly 400,000 mosquitoes tested in Ohio with 211 positive samples. Nine people have been identified as infected with WNV and one person has died from the mosquito-borne disease.

Most people who become infected with WNV do not have any symptoms.  About one in five people who become infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.  Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection, and care is based on symptoms.


Overholt urged local residents to take personal measures to protect themselves from mosquitoes. Those measures include using insect repellent containing DEET and empting water-holding containers such as plant saucers, outdoor toys, old tires and other items around your home. Mosquitoes need just a small amount of water to lay their eggs which hatch in just a day or two.


“Mosquitoes are likely to be biting between dusk and dawn,” said Overholt. “If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, cover up by wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Also, wear, light colors. They are less attractive to mosquitoes.”

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