Lowndes County Sees Record Year for West Nile Virus

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Lowndes County, Georgia- August 8, 2012

Lowndes County is adding to its record setting year of mosquito samples testing positve for the West Nile Virus. No humans have been reported as infected at this time.

This year's number has doubled the previous record for Lowndes County. Four new samples have been confirmed positive this week--the latest one coming in this morning.

As of today 12 samples testing positive for the West Nile Virus in Lowndes County have been reported. Those samples are collected every year and tested in a lab at the University of Georgia in Athens. It generally takes several days to return results. And it seems the momentum has picked up in the past two weeks. Positive samples got an early start this year. Usually pools come in August and September. But this year they started back in May.

There are a lot of different theories as to why the results are so high-- but researches can't say for sure.

VSU Biologist, Mark Blackmore: "Certainly we have had a lot of rain and the rain has come on the heels of a drought period and a lot of times mosquitoe populations are higher in those situations where you get a rainy year following a couple years of drought."

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.

No one has been reported infected so far but West Nile is generally found in three or four samples a year in Lowndes County--which makes this year's 12 instances pretty eye opening.