Residents warned about mosquitoes

LISBON — With mosquitoes in two places near Damascus testing positive for West Nile Virus, the Columbiana County Health Department is warning residents to take precautions against mosquitoes and the illnesses they potentially carry.

While there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus in this county, Health Commissioner Wes Vins said Clermont County in southwest Ohio reported the first human case this year. There were 17 human cases statewide in 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Health, including four fatal cases.

The health department is urging residents to wear protective clothing such as long pants and long sleeves when they go outdoors; wear mosquito repellents containing an active ingredient such as DEET, picaridin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or IR3535; and drain or change water often in outdoor containers, gutters and birdbaths.

The West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes first feeding on infected birds and then biting people or horses, who are also prone to catching the disease. People can only become infected through mosquito bites, not horses or birds. Crows and blue jays are most likely to die from the infection.

Besides West Nile Virus which is principally spread by the Northern House Mosquito, there are other diseases to be cautious about. The Tree Hole Mosquito, found to breed mostly in tree holes, tires and other artificial containers, can spread St. Louis Encephalitis.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Health, it was also announced rabies baiting will be underway again next week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will have people placing the baits in the Lisbon and East Palestine areas. Additionally, baits will be dropped by fixed-wing airplane in rural areas. On the western side of the county, Environmental Director Lori Barnes said they will be using a new type of blister packet, which is about 50 percent effective in vaccinating against rabies.

In other matters:

— Nursing Director Jennifer Davis announced there will be adult vaccines available on Thursdays starting on Sept. 1. Childhood vaccines are given on Mondays and Wednesdays. The adult program will be through VaxCare, which will be able to bill many insurance companies to try to cover the cost of the vaccine for the patients. Patients will have to cover the cost of what is not covered.

— A free skin cancer clinic is being planned from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Aug. 24.

— The board approved variances for Darren Drexler, Bacon Avenue, East Palestine; John Judy, Hanna Drive, Hanoverton; and Sheredan Young, Sprucevale Road, East Liverpool.

— The health department also no longer has a TB test shortage and the program has been reestablished.

— The board awarded septic replacement bid groups three, four and five, all going to Windy Oak. The bids were $26,970 for bid group three, $2,340 for bid group four and $8,000 for bid group five. Additionally, the board gave a 60-day extension on one replacement previously awarded on Dresden Avenue, East Liverpool.

— The board approved up to $10,000 to improve security for the building at the health department