SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – The West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in the city of Sharon and
the borough of Grove City in Mercer County.

The Mercer County Conservation District sent out a warning Friday morning to those living in Sharon near the Shenango River in the vicinity of the Bud Street Bridge and in Grove City near Wolf Creek, south of East Main Street.

Mosquitos are collected from seven locations in Mercer County every week, starting in the spring and lasting until October. Collected mosquitos are sent to the Department of Environmental Protection’s laboratory for testing every week.

According to the Conservation District, this is not the first time the virus has been detected in Mercer County, just the first time this year.

Residents are being asked to take extra precautions, such as applying insect repellant and wearing long sleeve shirts and pants when outdoors during dusk and dawn.

Officials also called on businesses and residents to reduce mosquito-breeding habitats by eliminating standing water, such as bird baths, discarded tires or any other containers capable of retaining standing water.

Earlier this month, mosquitoes carrying the virus were also found in Mahoning County.

The West Nile virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes and causes the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Rash on chest, stomach or back

Approximately 80% of people who are infected with the West Nile virus will not show any symptoms at all. Those who do develop symptoms will have them between two and 14 days after they are bitten by the infected mosquito.

About one in 150 people infected with the West Nile virus will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms may last several weeks, and neurologic effects may be permanent. Symptoms of severe illness can include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Stupor
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision loss
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis

The West Nile virus infection can only be diagnosed by a healthcare provider by laboratory testing. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection. More information can be found on the Ohio Department of Health’s website.