Dougherty County gets first case of West Nile Virus -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty County gets first case of West Nile Virus

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Dougherty County has its first confirmed case of West Nile Virus.

It's a 53 year old Dougherty County man and only the second confirmed case in the state. Last year Georgia had four cases, and two of those people died.

Tuesday crews are stepping up mosquito prevention efforts. Mosquito control experts say if you're going to be in an area with standing water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes then no matter how hot it is you should try to wear long sleeves, pants, and a mosquito repellant. It's more important than ever with the first confirmed case of West Nile.

It's the sound of summer in Dougherty County, bugs.

"A lot of times they will get close around those cattails," said Donnell Mathis, Mosquito Control.

One in particular, mosquitoes.

"It looked like a good area for breeding out mosquitoes, but right now we're not seeing anything," said Mathis.

Scoop, after, scoop, after, scoop turned up just a few mosquito larva in both the city and county. "It could be how well we're putting larvicide in the water along side the roads," said Mathis.

That's important with the areas first case of West Nile Virus, a 53 year old Dougherty County man, who's just been released from the hospital.

"He had underlying health conditions as well," said Southwest Georgia Health District Epidemiologist Jackie Jenkins.

The hot temperatures and afternoon showers are the perfect conditions for mosquitoes that carry West Nile. That's why health officials are reminding everyone to heed the precautions.

"Repair screens, use Deet when your out and about doing activities, or try to limit your activities at dusk and dawn," said Jenkins.

"I talk all the time about long sleeves and I'm out here a lot so if I'm out here all the time then I need to prevent myself from being bit by mosquitoes," said Mathis.

They want you to dump out standing water. It's concerning to have cases so early in the season. Cases don't typically peak until August and last year there wasn't a single case in southwest Georgia.

Mosquito control has been dropping pellets in areas that might be trouble spots for mosquitoes. The smaller tablet lasts about 30 days and the larger one 150 days. They say these tablets are good because even if the water dries up around them, when it rains again it will reactivate the tablets.

One out of 150 people infected with West Nile Virus develop serious symptoms. In 2006, a Dougherty County man was the state's sole West Nile Virus fatality.

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