West Nile virus confirmed in Richland County

Richland Public Health has confirmed the existence of West Nile virus in Richland County after testing a mosquito sample around Ontario.

“What we do is set mosquito traps in various locations throughout Richland County. They generally indicate where we should spray (for mosquitos),” Richland Public Health educator Reed Richmond said. “From there we send the collected samples down to the Ohio Department of Health. They test for West Nile and this particular pool was sent down two weeks ago to test for the virus.”

After the confirmed positive test results, we are the third county in the state of Ohio this year to find the West Nile virus Richmond said.

“It’s not unusual to have the virus present in mosquitios, but we haven’t had a human case since 2012,” he said.

West Nile virus is a spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While most people will show no symptoms, it can lead to West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease.

Richmond said mosquitoes can travel a radius of 15 miles.

No person has yet to be infected in Richland County this year.

There is a continual concern about mosquito-borne diseases, said Matthew Work, Director of Environmental Health at Richland Public Health.

“Our main focus is to reduce the risk of West Nile virus, and viral infections such as Eastern and Western equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and California La Crosse encephalitis/meningitis,” he said in a press release. “All of these diseases can only be spread by the bite of an infected mosquito carrying the virus.”

Richland Public Health is conducting weekly mosquito spraying in contracted areas and that includes the City of Ontario. Weekly sprayings are posted every Friday on the Health Department website: www.richlandhealth.org/my-community/mosquito-spraying

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