Three Lucas County adults have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease West Nile virus, the first such cases in the county this year.
Two Maumee women, a 63-year-old and a 76-year-old, contracted the virus and recovered. A 29-year-old Toledo man has the virus, is hospitalized, and is expected to recover, according to Konni Sutfield, spokesman for at the Toledo-Lucas County health department.
Another Toledo resident is thought to have contracted West Nile virus too, but Mr. Sutfield said lab tests are still pending for that person, who is expected to recover.
A 28-year-old Wood County man contracted the virus in August and recovered, the only known case of the virus this year in northwest Ohio outside of Lucas County.
Mr. Sutfield cautioned that the cases "are not unexpected."
"What's happening is the peak mosquito season starts the end of August, so you can start expecting cases now. But with lab results and delays in going to the hospital, it takes awhile for it to actually get back to us," he said.
Though it rarely causes serious illness, in some people West Nile virus can cause paralysis, swelling of the brain, and death. There is no treatment or vaccine. The virus is spread by mosquitoes that bite infected birds. The virus can also sicken and kill other animals, including horses.
In 2002, Michigan and Ohio were the second and third-hardest-hit states in the country. The virus infected 441 Ohioans, killing 31. In Michigan, there were 614 cases and 51 deaths. But since then, West Nile has virtually disappeared in terms of cases involving humans.
Last year, there were no human cases reported in northwest Ohio. There were a dozen cases elsewhere in Ohio, including two fatalities. In Michigan, there were 13 cases statewide, but no fatalities. No cases were recorded in Hillsdale, Lenawee, or Monroe counties.
So far this year in Ohio, there have been about 40 human cases and no known fatalities. In Michigan, there have been two virus-related