Lowndes child diagnosed with Encephalitis - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes child diagnosed with Encephalitis

July 24, 2003
from the Division of Public Health

Valdosta- The South Health District reports that a 10-year-old child has Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The child has been moved to an intensive care facility in another area of the state and is listed in very critical condition.

   Dr. Lynne Feldman, MPH, district health director, expresses concern about the child, and advises people to take precautions to avoid being exposed to mosquitoes and the diseases, like Encephalitis and West Nile virus, that mosquitoes can carry.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Map
                    “It is always sad when anyone, especially a child, becomes ill. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time,” Feldman said. “Local health officials are doing everything possible to prevent others from becoming sick.” Feldman said. “Encephalitis is a rare disease that can be very dangerous, even deadly, and it is important that people take precautions to avoid mosquitoes.”

   Dr. Mark Blackmore, entomologist at Valdosta State University, is on contract with District Public Health for mosquito surveillance in Lowndes County. “We have mosquito trapping sites throughout the city and county,” said Blackmore. “We collect specimens and test for EEE and West Nile from each site at least twice a week reporting our finds directly to the South Health District and State Public Health.”


West Nile Virus Map                                               Mosquito testing within the city limits of Valdosta has yielded negative results, however, two mosquito pools and one horse have tested positive for Encephalitis in the county. The county did follow up by spraying around the areas where disease had been found. The best way to protect from therse and other mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid exposure to mosquitoes.

    When outdoors, use an insect repellant that contains DEET. Children under 2-years-old and pregnant and nursing mothers should check with a physician before using any mosquito repellent. Wearing long sleeves and pants, especially when outside at night or when in swampy and forested areas, will also provide good protection against insects.

   People can also reduce the mosquito populations by removing standing water, where mosquitoes can breed, from around their home and worksite. Check to see that all screens are in good repair. Eliminate weeds, tall grass and other mosquito breeding places. Help neighbors by making certain that their homes are free of mosquito hazards such as loose screens, standing water or tall weeds and grass as well.

    Mosquitoes spread Encephalitis and West Nile by feeding on the blood of an infected bird, and then biting humans. Children and the elderly are at the greatest risk of becoming seriously ill, and adults over age 50 are at the greatest risk from West Nile.

   Fortunately, only a small proportion of people infected with either disease experience severe illness. However, everyone should take care to minimize exposure to mosquito bites.

   If you have been bitten by a mosquito and develop a high fever with severe headache, stiffness of neck or feel confused, get immediate medical attention. For more information, visit the Georgia Division of Public Health website or call the district office at 229-333-5290, or toll free at 866-801-5360.

posted at 11:25AM by dave.miller@walb.com

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