Released: May 18, 2023
The Delaware County Health Department (DCHD) announces it has identified the first “pool” of mosquitoes that are positive for West Nile virus in 2023. At this time no human cases have been reported in Delaware County. West Nile Virus activity typically occurs during the summer months and into the fall. Because the County is experiencing more frequent mosquito activity than usual for this time of year, DCDH needs your help.
“Preventing the spread of West Nile virus is up to everyone in Delaware County,” said Delaware County Health Department Director Melissa Lyon. “West Nile is a disease that spreads from mosquitoes to people and can cause serious disease, and although rare, sometimes death. Using repellants and taking the proper precautions around your property is key to preventing mosquito bites, and potentially West Nile.”
Most people (8 out of 10) infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people who develop symptoms of West Nile virus recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. About 1 in 150 people who are infected develop a severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
The most effective way to prevent the spread of West Nile virus is to keep mosquitoes from breeding on your property. To protect themselves and to help prevent the spread of West Nile virus, residents are encouraged to remember the ‘Three Ds’:
DRAIN - Anything that can hold water can breed mosquitoes, from soda bottle caps to discarded tires. Check your property for these sources of standing water and dump them out.
At least once or twice a week, empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, cans, wheelbarrows, boats, cargo trailers, toys and any other items outside your home. Empty and store wading pools for kids on their side, and any other sources of standing water outside your home.
DRESS - Wear clothing like long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats to protect against bug bites. You can further protect yourself by tucking your pants into your boots. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants is a great way to prevent not only mosquito bites but tick bites as well.
DEFEND - Wear insect repellent with DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus on exposed skin when outdoors. Another effective repellent is Permethrin. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions on the labels when using these repellants.
More information is available on the Delaware County Health Department West Nile Virus webpage. https://delcopa.gov/health/pages/westnile.html