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The statewide West Nile Virus Workgroup, consisting of representatives from ODH, the Ohio departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and federal and local partners has been working since last year to develop a statewide West Nile virus plan. As part of the planning, a statewide surveillance program was instituted that helped detect the disease and includes guidelines for mosquito control. Mosquito spraying is done on a local basis, and Lake County has an existing mosquito control program.
Prior to August 1999, West Nile Virus had never been reported in the Western Hemisphere. West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Outbreaks of the West Nile virus occurred in Egypt, Asia, Israel, South Africa, and in some parts of Europe and Australia. West Nile was first found in the United States in New York City in the fall of 1999. During that outbreak, 62 people, including 46 residents of New York City, became ill. Seven people died of West Nile virus-related infections during this initial outbreak.
West Nile virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. When a mosquito bites a bird that carries the virus, the mosquito becomes infected. Once a mosquito is infected, it may transmit the virus to people or animals when it bites them. Many birds can be infected, but crows and blue jays are most likely to die from the disease. Horses are also prone to West Nile virus infection. People cannot get West Nile virus directly from another person who has the disease.
A videotape on education and prevention of WNV of a presentation at the West Nile Virus Satellite Conference on March 19, 2003 is now available for $15 plus shipping. The conference is also available on CD-ROM for $5.00 plus shipping. Also available is a CD containing 2 PowerPoint presentations about WNV and it's prevention for the general public and horse owners, as well as poster files for homeowners and farmers for $5.00 plus shipping. Orders can be placed one of three ways: