Tuesday, July 16, 2002

County's West Nile threat limited

By Erica Solvig esolvig@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County is only the fifth Ohio county to have a mosquito pool test positive for West Nile Virus, but officials say it's too early to do more than consider preventive spraying.

        The pool was found last week near the Blue Ash Airport, Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram said.

        Key to any decision to spray is the ratio of infected mosquitoes compared to the total captured. In Hamilton County, that number is 1 to 6,000, Dr. Ingram said Monday.

        “We don't feel it's time to do that,” he said. “We would not consider spraying until that became 1 to 1,000 or less.”

        So far, 124 birds in 41 Ohio counties 1/2ndash 3/4 including Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren 1/2ndash 3/4 also have tested positive for West Nile virus, said Kristopher Weiss of the Ohio Department of Health.

        In Kentucky, seven birds have tested positive statewide. So far, no birds or mosquitoes in Northern Kentucky have tested positive this year, said Peggy Patterson, spokeswoman for the Northern Kentucky Independent District health department.

        The Hamilton County health department uses larvicide in standing water to kill mosquitoes.

        But the county is only in the early stages of considering focused ground spraying of biologically safe pesticides, Dr. Ingram said.

        Cuyahoga County has had a mosquito-spraying program for about 25 years, targeting areas that the county has surveyed, said Joe Lynch, vector program manager with that county's Board of Health.

        “It's like a shot glass per football field 1/2ndash 3/4 it's a very low amount,” Mr. Lynch said. “By the next morning, it's considerably broken down. There's no concern about children playing in the grass.”

        The basic transmission cycle runs from birds to mosquitoes to people and other animals, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms include high fever, fatigue, muscle ache, confusion and severe headaches,


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