Local official says be aware, but don’t panic, over West Nile Virus

Ryan Tekac, environmental director of Mahoning County Board of Health, says it's time to be aware of the virus

While mosquitoes with the West Nile Virus have been found in Mahoning and Columbiana counties, health officials say now is not the time to panic.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – While mosquitoes with the West Nile Virus have been found in Mahoning and Columbiana counties, health officials say now is not the time to panic.

“But it is the time to be aware,” said Ryan Tekac, environmental director, Mahoning County Board of Health.

“What we’ve done is — throughout the summer, mosquito season — we place surveillance traps throughout the county,” Tekac added. “Most recently in the month of July — the last weeks of July and early August — we trapped three pools of mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile Virus.”

Those traps are then sent to the Ohio Department of Health, where the mosquitoes are tested for the species type.

“And then what they do is, they grind up all the mosquitoes and see if the West Nile Virus is present,” Tekac said.

This year, 29 Ohio counties have reported West Nile Virus activity in mosquitoes collected as part of statewide surveillance. And only one case of West Nile among humans was reported this week in Clermont County.

But back here in Mahoning County…

“We’ve notified those township officials and we’re going to work with them to educate the public as well,” Tekac said. “And they’re going to consider doing fogging throughout the area.”

About 80 percent of people who are infected with the virus won’t immediately show any symptoms. But here’s what to look out for if you are:

“A rash, fever,” Tekac said. “Contact your primary care physician to ensure that they can follow through with testing.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat West Nile Virus.

Twenty-eight states have reported more than 200 combined human West Nile virus cases so far in 2017.