West Nile virus is quickly becoming a household word here in the mid-Ohio Valley.
Dozens of Ohio counties have reported cases of the mosquito-borne virus.
And West Virginia's first case of the virus was confirmed Wednesday in Jackson County.
The summer season often means mosquito season.
Most of the time, the pesky insects are nothing more than a nuisance.
But news of the West Nile virus in Ohio, and now in West Virginia, is worrying many residents.
The Belpre City Health Department is teaming up with Athens County, Ohio, health officials, to spray for mosquitoes now before it becomes a problem.
A machine, will be on the streets of Belpre this weekend. It sprays a fine mist over the area that kills mosquitoes. But health officials here, say there's no need for concern; there is no health hazard for you or your pet.
Spraying for mosquitoes is not unusual.
But health officials say it's even more important this summer, now with the threat of the West Nile virus.
Spraying will start on Saturday, and take place during the evening hours.
The health department says, if things go as planned, most people won't even notice the spraying.
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West Nile virus Facts
- The West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) in humans and other animals.
- The virus is named after the West Nile region of Uganda where it was first isolated in1937.
- The virus appeared for the first time in the United States during a 1999 outbreak in New York that killed seven people.
How is the West Nile virus Spread?
- The virus is spread to humans, birds and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.
- A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that is carrying the virus.
- West Nile virus is not spread from person to person, and no evidence indicates the virus can be spread directly from birds to humans.
- Only a small population of mosquitoes are likely to be infected and most people bitten by an infected mosquito do not become sick.
- 1 in 300 people bitten by an infected mosquito get sick.
- 1 in 100-150 who get sick become seriously ill.
- 3 to 15 percent of those seriously ill die.
Symptoms of the Virus
- The symptoms generally appear about 3 to 6 days after exposure. People over the age of 50 are at a greater risk of severe illness.
- Milder symptoms include: Slight fever, headache, body aches, swollen glands and/or sometimes a skin rash.
- Severe symptoms include: High fever, intense headache, stiff neck, and/or confusion.
- Control mosquitoes from breeding around your home.
- Wear long and light colored clothing.
- Use insect repellent products with no ore than 20-30 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children.
- Spray repellent on your hands and then apply to your face. Be sure repellent is safe for human skin.
- Wash off repellent daily and reapply as needed.
Source: www.vdh.state.va.us contributed to this report