State officials have reported Ohio's first human death from West Nile virus.
The Ohio Department of Health says the 76-year old man died of encephalitis after contracting the virus. While still far behind the scope of the outbreak reported in Texas, the number of human cases and positive mosquito samples has increased dramatically over last year. So far this season there have been 49 reported human cases and 950 positive samples, compared to 2 human cases and 450 positive samples. Health officials say the type of mosquito yhat transmit the virus thrive in drought-like conditions. Most cases of West Nile are mild, and show the headache, fatigue and body aches associated with seasonal flu. But some serious cases can develop into more deadly diseases like meningitis and encephalitis. They recommend common-sense strategies to guard against mosquito bites; eliminate standing water, use mosquito repellant, and avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitos are most likely to feed. Ohio's worst outbreak of West Nile virus occurred in 2002, with 441 human cases and 31 fatalities.