Ohio health officials confirm 2 women hospitalized with West Nile virus in first human cases

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio health officials have confirmed that two women have been hospitalized with the West Nile virus in state's first human cases.

The Ohio Department of Health said Wednesday a 24-year-old woman in Muskingum County and a 78-year-old woman in Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH'-guh) County have been hospitalized with encephalitis. That's an inflammation of the brain caused when someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.

The cases were identified Tuesday by the health department.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary DiOrio says Ohio could see a growing number of West Nile cases. She's urging people to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Officials recommend using insect repellant and wearing long pants and sleeves outside, especially at dusk and dawn.

The state health department has identified at least 120 positive West Nile Virus mosquito samples since mid-July.

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