PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth City Health Department announced the West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in Portsmouth.
The virus, which is widely spread by mosquitoes, has been confirmed to be in the city of Portsmouth for the first time this year. The presence of WNV was confirmed Wednesday by the Oho Department of Health Laboratory in a mosquito sample collected July 21.
The Health Department stated no human or animal cases of WNV or Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) have been detected so far this year and there is no elevated risk level or risk-level change associated with this finding.
Approximately 80% of people who are infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms at all, but there is no way to know in advance if someone will develop an illness or not. Those who do develop symptoms usually do so between two to 14 days after they are bitten by the infected mosquito.
Up to 20% of people who become infected will have symptoms that can last for a few days to as long as several weeks. About one in 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Steps to prevent West Nile virus infection include avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites, planning ahead when traveling to areas at risk for West Nile virus infection and stopping mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home. The PCHD will continue mosquito fogging area neighborhoods as well.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, the 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.