You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

State-paid West Nile virus program cut


A state program to give advance warnings of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus will be discontinued and local health departments will have to pick up the tab, the Ohio Health Department said in a memo distributed to local health officials late last week.

The Zoonotic Disease Program at a state lab in Reynoldsburg tests insect samples sent from local health programs and also identifies ticks that carry lyme disease. It will be discontinued because federal funding has dried up, Theodore W. Wymyslo, Ohio Director of Health, said in an April 11 memo obtained by this newspaper.

Officials called 2012 one of the worst summers for the virus in the state and across the nation. Federal tallies by Dec. 11 showed 48 states reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,387 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 243 deaths, were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 121 Ohio cases reported and seven deaths.

Wymyslo said that despite a reduced budget, the state was able to continue the program last year using a stock of laboratory testing supplies. The outbreak exhausted those supplies, he added.

Combating disease outbreaks at the local level also includes community education, draining breeding pools, and spraying, Wymyslo’s memo noted. Local health officials should make use of a tick identification guide at the state’s health website, he said, and the state is considering hosting mosquito identification clinics. He recommended that local officials use outside labs for identification and testing services rather than try to do testing in-house.

Last year, testing in Montgomery County of 350 mosquito breeding grounds found that about a third held West Nile-carrying mosquitoes.

“While mosquito surveillance is a valuable part of (West Nile Virus) response planning, the federal government has cut funding to this area and ODH does not have other funds available to support this activity,” Wymyslo said.

Local county health officials said they’re trying to figure out how to respond to the move. Warren County Environmental Health Director Dennis Murray said the county will send a letter to the state asking officials to reconsider. The county, which recorded two West Nile cases in 2012, will continue treating stagnate water areas based on complaints.

Not all counties fund mosquito control programs through their health departments. In Miami County for example, mosquito control is done through cities, townships and villages, said Chris Cook, Miami County Health Commissioner.

In Montgomery County, which reported 12 cases of West Nile in 2012, a decision will be made in the next couple of weeks, said Mark Case, the environmental health director for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

The county might launch an in-house testing program using kits, which are less accurate than state testing, to continue monitoring for the virus. That will cost at least an additional $7,000. The county’s mosquito control program that uses traps to count insects and then sprays the bug hot spots around the county will not be affected by the state program’s closure, Case added.

Clark County, which had eight reported cases of West Nile last year, doesn’t plan to do any in-house testing of mosquitoes. It will continue to emphasize public education to keep the disease in check by asking residents to drain standing water and use insect repellent when outdoors. Dan Chatfield, the county’s Director of Environmental Health, would like the state to continue the program.

“To me, it’s important to have a state lab that supports that activity,” he said. “There is no magic pot of money at the local level to take over for what the state is not going to do anymore.”

Greene County Director of Environmental Health Deborah Leopold said the county will continue mosquito counts and collections.

Butler County officials could not be reached for comment.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

83-year old allegedly steals ambulance, drives home
83-year old allegedly steals ambulance, drives home

An 83-year-old New York man checked himself out of a hospital in the middle of the night Tuesday and then allegedly stole an ambulance to get home, WNBC reported. Donald Winkler of Merrick reportedly was unhappy with the treatment he had received after being admitted to Nassau University Medical Center last week, so at 1 a.m. Tuesday he checked...
Man shot, killed on Linden Ave. in Springfield
Man shot, killed on Linden Ave. in Springfield

Springfield police confirm a man has died at the scene of a shooting on Linden Avenue.  Additional details were not available.  A man has reportedly suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the 1300 block of Linden Avenue in Springfield early Friday morning.  Police and medics were dispatched around 2:10 a.m. on initial reports of up to 30...
More millenials live with parents in S. Florida than anywhere else
More millenials live with parents in S. Florida than anywhere else

A new study suggests that millennials in South Florida live with their parents at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country. >> Read more trending news  The study conducted by Abodo found that 44.8 percent of millennials in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area still live with their parents. That’s the highest percentage...
Fire destroys North Dakota church owned by white supremacist 
Fire destroys North Dakota church owned by white supremacist 

A North Dakota church recently bought by a self-proclaimed white supremacist has burned to the ground, KVRR reported. >> Read more trending news  The Attorney General’s office said there isn’t any new information to release, but Craig Cobb said he knows the fire was set intentionally and believes it was a hate crime. &ldquo...
Springfield native builds center to house, teach children overseas
Springfield native builds center to house, teach children overseas

Springfield native Meredith Wood-Docena was still a student at Cedarville University when she began travelling to the Philippines over the summer for missionary work. Her experiences on those trips would eventually lead to the founding of Obed’s House Ministries in 2013 that aims to help children living on the streets. Wood-Docena is now a resident...
More Stories