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Here's the Buzz about West Nile Virus

More cases than ever are reported this year

More cases of the West Nile virus have been reported this summer than ever before, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency said it has received 1,118 West Nile virus cases so far — the most through the third week in August since the virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.

One of those cases . The city's health department said the 54-year-old resident is recovering and has not suffered any any neurological effects following a mosquito bite.

Through Aug. 21, there have been 15 other cases reported in Ohio, including five in Cuyahoga County.

The county no longer does routine spraying for mosquitos, -- not necessarily for West Nile, but to keep the pests at bay for special events.

Service Director Joe Walker told Strongsville Patch last summer that the city sprays the Foltz ballfields about a week before the Fourth of July fireworks to make the event more pleasant for spectators. The city also kills mosquitos before the annual Breakfast on the Bridge.

The human West Nile death count is up to 41, the CDC said. Three-quarters of cases originated in five states — Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. Half of them were reported in Texas.

About 80 percent of the people infected with West Nile Virus will show no symptoms, the CDC said. Up to 20 percent will have mild symptoms like aches, nausea, headache and fever.

One in 150 people develops severe illness, with symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

Here's how to help prevent the spread, according to the CDC:

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

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