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Public Health Officials Urge Protection From Mosquitoes: One probable Case of WNV in the West Central Health District
July 26, 2012
The West Central Health District as part of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is calling on area residents to guard against exposure to mosquitoes. Thus far this year, DPH has identified one probable West Nile Virus (WNV) case in the West Central Health District.
In July 2012, an adult male from Muscogee County became ill and is currently listed as probable for WNV. Public Health is currently awaiting final laboratory confirmation but at this time is listing this as the first probable case of WNV this year reported in the West Central Health District. There are currently two confirmed cases of WNV reported thus far this year in the State of Georgia.
“West Nile Virus and other mosquito borne illnesses continue to impact the residents of our health district and I urge the community to take precaution measures to guard against mosquito bites and exposure to these diseases” said Beverley Townsend, M.D., West Central Health District Health Director.
Many people who are bitten by an infected mosquito won't get sick, because their body fights off the virus—many others aren't as fortunate. According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), More than 30,000 people in the US have been reported with West Nile virus disease since 1999 and of those almost 13,000 have been seriously ill and over 1,200 have died. Many more cases of illness are not reported to CDC, but it's likely that more than 300,000 people from almost every state have been sickened since West Nile virus came to the US. The older you are the more likely you could get severely ill once infected. People who have received organ transplants also seem to be at higher risk for severe disease. It is not entirely known why one person becomes severely ill and another doesn't.
Persons who become ill after being bitten by a mosquito with WNV may develop some or all of the following symptoms: headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes. Those with severe illness can become confused; lose the ability for their muscles to work and progress to a coma. Residents who have a sudden change in their normal state of awareness, ability to move their arms or legs or sudden severe headache with or without fever are encouraged to visit their healthcare provider immediately. Many of those who develop severe illness will have a lifetime of adjusting to the changes the virus will cause their mind and/or body.
Dr. Townsend reminded residents that mosquitoes need water to breed, and removing areas of standing water can eliminate breeding grounds and reduce the number of mosquitoes in the area. Removing these breeding grounds and taking the following precautionary measures are recommended ways to reduce exposure to mosquitoes and risk of WNV
- Avoid Mosquitoes! Many mosquitoes bite between dusk and dawn. Limit time outdoors during these hours, or be especially sure to use repellents and protective clothing.
- Properly dispose of old tires. Regularly empty any metal cans, ceramic flowerpots, bottles, jars, buckets, and other water-holding containers on your property.
- Use Repellent Carefully! Repellents containing DEET are safe for adults and children when used according to directions.
- Turn over plastic wading pools, outdoor toys and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated. Remove standing water from pool covers. Fill in swimming pools that are not being properly maintained or used.
- Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets.
- Keep gutters cleared and sloped to the downspout.
- Set up outdoor fans, where possible, to keep mosquitoes from flying near you.
- Cover Up! Wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants and socks sprayed with repellent while outdoors can further help prevent mosquito bites.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors.
- Make sure windows and screens are in good condition. Repair any holes in screens.
- Purchase and use Mosquito Dunks or Mosquito Torpedoes (larvicides used to kill mosquito larvae) to control mosquitoes in areas with standing water and in containers that cannot be dumped.
More information on WNV can be found at the CDC’s site:
Further information on repellents is also available from the CDC: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm