Fifth Mosquito In Lowndes County Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

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-- Valdosta, Ga. -- July 18, 2012 --

The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed
for the fifth time this summer, a mosquito sample tested positive for
West Nile Virus (WNV) in Lowndes County.

Public Health Officials in South Georgia are encouraging everyone in the area to guard against exposure to mosquitoes. There have also been numerous cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) confirmed in horses in South Georgia and one human case of WNV in Albany.

“Mosquito borne illnesses are spread through the bite of an infected
mosquito,” states William Grow, MD, FACP, District Health Director.
“The more time someone is outdoors, the more time the person is at
risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito; that is why we are
encouraging South Georgians to take all precautions against mosquito bites.”

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.

According to Dr. Grow, 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.

Courtney Sheeley is the public information officer for the Lowndes County Health Department. She says that the fifth confirmed mosquito with West Nile Virus in Lowndes County could mean that we may see more mosquito's with the disease than in years past.