Encephalitis in Lowndes County

Another human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been reported in the Peach State. This is the second reported case in Georgia this year.

The Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus has been present in Lowndes County for many years now, but in the bird population. This is the first human case in Lowndes County, but it proves that people need to take precautions to avoid being exposed to mosquitoes.

Thursday morning, health officials announced that a 10-year old girl is the first human case in Lowndes County with Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The mosquito-born virus causes inflammation and swelling in the brain. Symptoms include fever, stiff neck, lethargy, followed by a coma and can cause death.

Experts have collected mosquitoes around the girl's home to determine the presence of the virus.

“We did find mosquito species that our vector of this disease there, we did not find any virus in the samples that we tested, but that doesn't mean it is not out there at this time,” says Dr. Mark Blackmore.

Both the county and the city are stepping up their mosquito control programs, by distributing larvicide tablets and expanding their mosquito spraying.

“We have deployed a second truck where as it takes about seven days to cover our complete city, we will now cover the city every 4-4 ? days and extending time of spraying till 10 in the evening,” says Valdosta Mayor, Jimmie Rainwater.

Health officials want to remind folks that this virus is not contagious and can only be contracted by an infected mosquito, so it is important to take measures to avoid mosquitoes.

The child is currently hospitalized in a coma in another area of the state. Everyone around here is hoping that she will recover like the seven-month old Florida boy and the Illinois woman who also recovered last month.