- Valdosta, Ga. - May 22, 2012 -
A mosquito has been discovered in Valdosta carrying the West Nile Virus.
No one has been reported infected at this time. It was discovered within Valdosta city limits about two weeks ago. Biologists at Valdosta State University found it as part of mosquito population research.
Symptoms of West Nile are mild in most cases, but people with weaker immune systems like children and seniors could experience paralysis or even death.
"About 80% of the cases where the mosquito that has the virus bites a person never result in any kind of illness that gets reported anywhere. Usually it's kind of mild Flu-like symptoms," said Biologist Dr. Mark Blackmore.
West Nile is generally found two or three times a year in Valdosta, but usually not until August.
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The City Of Valdosta has offered these safety tips:
1. Dispose of items around your property that collect water—tires, containers, flower pots, etc. Breeding sites are not always obvious and may be areas of standing water in a bird bath or flower pot. However, these sites may be producing hundreds of new mosquitoes each day in your area.
2. Use larvicide where standing water cannot be removed. Free larvicide tablets are available to city residents at the City of Valdosta Public Works Department, at 1017 Myrtle Street, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3. Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito eating fish.
4. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor spas, saunas and hot tubs; keep them covered when not in use.
5. Clean out clogged gutters.
6. Eliminate weeds, tall grass, as these also become mosquito breeding sites.
7. Use insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors. The CDC also recommends repellents that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or the chemical Picaridin.
8. Protect yourself with long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks when you are outdoors during times that mosquitoes are most active.