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ALERT: Mosquitoes Found With West Nile Virus in Columbus

Updated: Wednesday, July 9 2014, 08:07 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS (James Jackson/Sean Rowe) -- Mosquitoes found in Columbus have tested positive for West Nile virus, Columbus Public Health confirmed Tuesday. That's the first confirmation in city limits, this year.

Columbus Public Health announced two groups of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus. Officials collected the groups on the Southeast side of the city. Scott Whittaker is the organization's program manager. "Historically, you know, late June, early July, throughout Ohio. This is about the time we start seeing mosquitoes test positive," Whittaker said.

Part of Earle Williams' job is to keep yards well-groomed. The maintenance man says growing up in the South, mosquitoes came with the territory. "They bite you and bite you and they keep on biting you. One thing I learned about mosquitoes. They're so prevalent down in Florida, you could hear them. They've got a certain sound," Williams said.

Williams, who lives where the samples were taken, says that's why he wasted no time taking precautions around his home. "Get rid of all standing water in tires, bottles, anything that will hold water. Garbage cans. Dump it out," Williams said.

Health officials also urge you to wear insect repellant, don't stay outside long, and make sure the screens on your windows are sealed tight. Two human cases of West Nile were reported in Columbus, last year. To keep the virus from spreading, CPH will start spraying in on the Southeast side starting Wednesday.

The positive tests were collected in:

 - South Columbus between Alum Creek Drive
 - Three Creeks Metro Park, south of Watkins Road and north of Williams Road

A second group was collected in South Columbus between Hamilton Road and Courtright Road, south of I-70 and north of Kimberly Parkway.

As a result of these results, CPH will be spraying the areas affected Wednesday to help control disease in the region.

Visit our online map which outlines the designated spraying areas:

 - Southeast Columbus: (North Boundary - Watkins Rd., East Boundary - Alum Creek,  South Boundary - Williams Rd., West Boundary - New World Dr.)

 - Southeast Columbus: (North Boundary - I-70, East Boundary - Hamilton Rd.,  South Boundary - Kimberly Pkwy, West Boundary - Courtright Rd.)

"These positive results are a reminder of the importance of taking precautions to protect ourselves from mosquito exposure," Dr. Long said.

"Residents can protect themselves by using insect repellant, wearing protective clothing at dawn or dusk, repairing window screens, and eliminating standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs such as bird baths and baby pools."

To avoid possible infection from mosquito bites:
 - Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are
most active;

 - If you must be outdoors, be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks.

 - Light colors are least attractive to mosquitoes. Use insect repellent and follow the label directions.
To eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home:

 - Remove all discarded tires and other water-holding containers, such as tin cans and unused flower pots, from your property.
 - Eliminate standing water from your property.
 - Make sure all roof gutters are clean and properly draining.
 - Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs.
 - Keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers.
 - Change water in bird baths weekly.

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