Rare, Deadly Viral Disease Could Soon Reach Ohio, What to Watch For
It wasn't so long ago that the likely return of the world's deadliest creature was announced for Ohio. Unfortunately, it seems that creature may be even deadlier this year.
The World's Deadliest Creature is Returning to Ohio Soon
Mosquitos will return to Ohio this spring, which should come as no surprise. Once the temperature begins to hover above the 50s consistently, the mosquitos return. Check out this article to see when exactly mosquitos are expected to return to your portion of the state.
When this season's batch of bloodsuckers spawns, they may be coming with a disease that everyone in Ohio must be prepared for. It's called Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a viral disease transmitted by mosquitos that kills 30% of all humans it infects.
EEE is a dangerous disease, that can be difficult to recognize or treat. According to the CDC, it typically takes four to 10 days to begin to feel the effects of a mosquito bite containing the EEE virus. Symptoms include fever with body aches and joint pain. So long as there is no central nervous system involvement, the illness will last one or two weeks.
However, if the disease displays neurologic disease with headache, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, behavioral changes, drowsiness, or even slipping into a coma, the disease becomes much more dangerous. These symptoms can lead to a quick decline for the infected, especially in adults over 50 and children under 15, where death can follow within two to 10 days after the onset of neurologic symptoms. Those who recover from these symptoms are left with physical or mental impairments.
The virus has already been reported in two separate portions of the country. The state of Alabama has already reported one death out of two cases this year. New York state has reported that the disease has been found in horses in two Canada-bordering counties - St. Lawrence and Franklin.
While the disease typically only registers a handful of cases in either eastern or Gulf Coast states each year, it is a bit early in the year for the disease to spring up as Alabama is not even yet warm enough for mosquitos to begin to return in full force, let alone the northern regions of New York. The Great Lakes region has had its own string of cases reported in the past.
There is no treatment for the virus beyond rest and over-the-counter pain medications, though severe cases should quickly be hospitalized to receive care for fluids and nursing.
With mosquitos set to return very soon to Ohio, residents should take every precaution to ensure they aren't in danger of contracting the virus from a mosquito. Wearing long sleeves or applying repellant such as "DEET" or "OFF" when applicable goes a long way no matter where you are outdoors. Ensuring your home's safety is best accomplished by ensuring there are no bodies of standing water near your home where mosquitos often breed, including gutters, bird baths, and other items such as old tires.
Ohio has had an outbreak of EEE in the past, though both instances were strictly equine; in 1991 in Wayne and Holmes counties and more recently in 2014 in Ashtabula and Trumbull counties.
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