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Mosquito-borne diseases

West Nile virus (WNV) is an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes.
Most people are infected in Ohio by the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens.  Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.  Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals when they bite.
West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in New York City in 1999 and quickly spread across the country within a few years.  West Nile virus was first identified in Ohio birds and mosquitoes in 2001.  The following year, the first human cases and deaths were reported.  By the end of 2002, all but one of the state’s 88 counties reported positive humans (441 total human cases), mosquitoes, birds, or horses.  West Nile virus is now established in Ohio where cases occur each year and seasonal epidemics can flare up under certain conditions in the summer and continue into the fall.

Diseases spread by mosquitoes are a concern in Ohio each year.  Mosquito-borne diseases that may occur locally in Ohio include:

There are also several mosquito-borne diseases that Ohioans can acquire when traveling:

  • Zika virus
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Malaria
  • Dengue fever
  • Yellow fever
  • Chikungunya

You can find more information on these and more at the CDC website:  https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/outdoor/mosquito-borne/default.html

Here are some tips to avoid mosquito bites:

  • If you are outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoe and socks.
  • Wear light-colored clothing, which is less attractive to mosquitoes.
  • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and follow the label directions.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.

Here are some tips to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:

  • Eliminate standing water.
  • Empty or remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, unused flower pots and bird baths.
  • Make sure all roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
  • Keep child wading pools empty and on their sides when not being used.

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