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Published: Thursday, 11/18/2010

Lucas County has no cases of West Nile virus in 2010

No human cases of West Nile virus were found in Lucas County this year, but after New York experienced a resurgence, residents cannot be complacent, a Toledo Area Sanitary District official says.

Although there was abundant rainfall early in the season, Lucas County requests to control mosquitoes - which can spread the potentially deadly virus to humans - were about average this year at 9,183, said Lee Mitchell, district biologist.

"It was not a bad year this year for West Nile virus," Mr. Mitchell said Thursday during the annual meeting of the district's advisory board committee.

Lucas County had five mosquito pools test positive for West Nile virus in 2010, and statewide 260 of 8,843 tested pools were positive, according to the Ohio Department of Health statistics.

There were three nonfatal human cases of West Nile virus in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan this year, two in Putnam County and one in Allen County, according to government statistics.

Nationwide, there were 931 human cases of West Nile virus, including 39 deaths. New York had 127 human cases of West Nile virus and three deaths, and only Arizona had more cases with 158, including nine deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were four human cases of West Nile virus statewide in 2010, none of which was fatal. Michigan had 29 human cases of the virus, including three deaths, according to the CDC.

Formed in 1946, the Toledo Area Sanitary District is Ohio's largest and one of just two comprehensive mosquito-control programs statewide. For the last several years, the threat of West Nile virus has increased Lucas County's efforts to kill larvae and adult mosquitoes.

The district, which is funded through property tax dollars that totaled about $2.15 million this year, has been working with less money in recent years as property values have declined, said John Heiniger, general manager.

At an assessment of 0.25-mill, mosquito control costs the owner of a $100,000 house in Lucas County less than $9 a year, Mr. Mitchell said.

Lucas County's first human case of West Nile virus was reported in 2002, and there were a dozen cases that year.

Nationwide in 2002, Michigan and Ohio had the second and third-highest number, respectively, of West Nile virus cases, totaling 1,055 for both states.

Most requests the district receives for mosquito control is for adult insects, said Mr. Mitchell, the biologist. The district, however, also treats standing water to kill larvae, he said.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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