South Health District Georgia Department of Public Health released the following announcement this afternoon:

The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed six

mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Lowndes

County last week. Fourteen mosquito pools have tested positive for a

mosquito borne disease so far this year (13 - WNV, 1 - Eastern Equine

Encephalitis (EEE)). There have also been numerous cases of EEE

confirmed in horses and one in a dog in South Georgia; and human cases

of WNV in Clinch and Brantley Counties.

Public Health Officials continue to encourage everyone to guard against

exposure to mosquitoes. According to Rosmarie Kelly, PhD, MPH, Public

Health Entomologist, mosquito activity appears to be lower now than last

year at this point; however, we won’t know for sure until all data are

in for August.

Lowndes County is one of only five locations in Georgia that conducts

testing on mosquito pools for mosquito borne illnesses. “Due to the

testing in our area, we are able to notify the public when a mosquito

sample tests positive for an illness,” says William Grow, MD, FACP,

District Health Director. “However, this doesn’t mean that

mosquitoes are only affecting people in that area. Mosquitoes travel

everywhere and anyone is at risk of a mosquito bite.”

People are urged to take the following precautions:

●    Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or PMD.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the label. 

●    Any containers that can collect water should be discarded or

dumped daily.

●    Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors,

especially at dawn and dusk to reduce the amount of exposed skin, as

weather permits.

●    Avoid being outdoors from dusk to dawn, peak mosquito biting

times, if possible.

●    Set up outdoor fans to keep mosquitoes from flying near you.

“While most people infected with West Nile Virus show no symptoms of

the illness and pass it on their own, even healthy people have become

severely ill for weeks when infected,” says Dr. Grow.

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and

joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that usually develop 3 to 14

days after being infected. The elderly, those with compromised immune

systems, or those with other underlying conditions are at greater risk

for complications from the disease.

There is no vaccine for the illness nor is there a specific treatment.

People with severe cases are hospitalized and receive supportive care

such as intravenous fluids and respiratory treatment. The best

protection is to avoid being bitten.

For more information about mosquito borne illnesses, call your local

health department or visit www.cdc.gov/.

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