(Cleveland) - Ohio’s first human case of West Nile Virus in 2013 was identified Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Health.  A 72-year-old female in Cuyahoga County is currently hospitalized with WNV meningitis.

“We’ve seen human cases of West Nile Virus each year in Ohio since 2002 but it is encouraging that our counts are down compared to where we were a year ago,” said ODH Director Ted Wymyslo, M.D. “Ohioans are doing their part to avoid mosquito bites and we continue to work with local health departments around the state to monitor West Nile Virus activity.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults 50 and older at the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill when infected with the West Nile Virus. 

Most people will experience no symptoms. A small number of people, typically less than one out of one hundred, become infected and develop West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, an inflammation of the brain or the area around the brain which requires hospitalization. In some cases, especially among older persons, it can result in death. 

Symptoms of severe illness include headache, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors (shaking), convulsions, coma, and paralysis.

There is no specific treatment for the West Nile Virus infection.

Mosquitoes gather near available water sources and pooling water in man-made containers provides a breeding ground for mosquito habitats. Property owners are encouraged to check for these potential breeding sites and eliminate the presence of standing water to reduce risk.

Local officials are asked to remind residents about the importance of taking personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites by placing information and a prevention message on community websites, cable access channels, city marquees, and in printed newsletters.

Please contact the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to report areas of persistent standing water or heavy populations of biting mosquitoes at 216-201-2000.

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(Copyright © 2013 by Clear ChanneL, all rights reserved. Photo by Getty Images.)