As West Nile cases continue to climb nationwide, some local residents say mosquitoes are worse locally than they've seen in recent years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 2,636 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 118 deaths, as of Tuesday.
The 2,636 U.S. cases reported so far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to the CDC through the second week in September since 2003.
Ohio has had two reported fatal cases of West Nile, one in Hamilton County and another in Cuyahoga County, as of Sept. 7, said Washington County Health Commissioner Kathleen Meckstroth.
"Both were older individuals," she said.
According to Gerald Gulley, the Marietta City Health Department's director of environmental health, there's been no sign of the West Nile virus or related illnesses in Marietta.
Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water.
Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than two days.
Eliminate all low areas that allow water to collect and stagnate.
Do not allow water to collect in rain gutters. Clearing these of leaves and debris that tend to hold the water preventing it from discharging will eliminate gutters as a breeding site.
Source: southtampa.patch.com, insects.tamu.edu.
"We haven't found any positives (on test results on local mosquitoes) for West Nile or found any individual in Marietta that has West Nile," Gulley confirmed.
Washington County has had one reported case of LaCrosse encephalitis, another potentially serious mosquito-borne illness, this year. The person recovered.
"There are no other mosquito-borne illnesses to worry about (in Washington County)," Meckstroth added.
Symptoms of West Nile include fever, headache, fatigue, occasional rash or occasional swollen lymph glands.
Fever, headache and fatigue are the most common symptoms of West Nile, making it difficult for people to know they have contracted the disease, said Meckstroth.
"(West Nile symptoms) are very similar to flu-like symptoms," Meckstroth said. "Not everyone seeks medical treatment or gets tested for it."
Fever with headache is a symptom of LaCrosse encephalitis. Symptoms can progress to paralysis, seizures, coma or death.
Although there have been few reports of mosquito-borne illnesses in Marietta and Washington County that doesn't mean the mosquitoes have stopped biting.
Doug Roberts, 58, lives in the Norwood area of Marietta and is feeling the sting of the mosquitoes that congregate there.
"If I happen to be out mowing or working in the yard, they're very intense in this area," said Roberts.
Marietta City Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, said he is feeling the mosquito itch where he lives in Norwood, too.
"If I'm not covered with spray, I'm absolutely eaten alive," said Kalter.
This year's big itch also extends to other areas.
Todd Frasher, 30, lives on Lawton Road in Marietta, near the Muskingum River and Devola.
"The mosquitoes have been pretty rampant, especially during the humid parts of the summer," he said.
Frasher's wife Tina, 29, said their 2-year-old son Collin gets bitten by mosquitoes when he plays outside.
"He looks abused because of all the bites all over his legs," she said.
According to Gulley, the general public believes there are more mosquitoes in wet weather.
"The opposite is true," Gulley noted. "When it's dry and the water doesn't flow, (it creates) pools and that's where mosquitoes love to breed."
Washington County Health Commissioner Kathleen Meckstroth agreed.
"You get stagnation in drier seasons," said Meckstroth. "Mosquitoes breed more in stagnated water."
The mosquito breed that is most prevalent in the greater Marietta area is called a "small-container breed." These mosquitoes like to bask in the stagnant water that sits in small places like bird baths, the saucers of plant pots and children's wading pools.
Tina Frasher said she doesn't like to put chemicals on her son to protect him from mosquito bites.
"We hesitate to use any kind of bug sprays because of the DEET," Tina Frasher noted. "The natural ones tend not to work as well."
Roberts can remember the city of Marietta running a fog truck in his neighborhood in the 1980s to get rid of mosquitoes.
"It seemed like that did a pretty good job," he said. "But with the environment, I don't know if that's feasible anymore."
According to Meckstroth, the Washington County Health Department doesn't have any way of spraying for mosquitoes.
"What we do is educate the public as to what they can do to protect themselves," she said.
Meckstroth and Gulley recommended that residents eliminate breeding sites around their homes where water accumulates.
Proper clothing can also help eliminate bites.
"Mosquitoes are most active and feeding at dusk and dawn," Meckstroth said. "If you're going to be out then, wear slacks and long-sleeve clothing."