West Nile Virus confirmed in two counties - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

West Nile Virus confirmed in two counties

October 2, 2003
from the Dept. of Public Health


Tifton, GA-- The Georgia Public Health Laboratory has verified that a Tift County resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).  The 70-year-old male remains hospitalized but has clinically improved.  This is Tift County’s first WNV human case for the year.  Verification also came on a case in Lowndes County in an 18-year-old male who was released from the hospital and has recovered.  There are pending results for two additional human cases of WNV, one in Tift County and one in Ben Hill County.  Lab results obtained by a private lab on these cases were positive; however state lab results must concur before the diagnosis is verified.   


WNV is a potentially serious mosquito-transmitted arbovirus disease that can cause illness or death.  Most people who are infected with the disease do not have symptoms.  Others may experience mild or flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands and rash.  A small number of people infected may develop serious illness such as meningitis (swelling of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) or encephalitis (swelling of the brain).


“Preventing mosquitoes from breeding and protecting yourself from mosquito bites are the best ways to avoid the disease,” said Lynne D. Feldman, MD, MPH, district health director of the South Health District 8, Unit 1.


Health officials urge citizens to take the following prevention steps to protect yourself and your family again mosquito bites:

§         Wear light-colored pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outside.


§         Eliminate mosquito-breeding areas around your home.  Mosquitoes can breed in any container that can collect water such as buckets, old tires, toys, flowerpots and barrels.  Store wheelbarrows and boats upside down (or cover them) and empty pet watering dishes and birdbaths at least once a week.  Keep pools and hot tubs chlorinated and stock ornamental ponds with mosquito eating fish.


§         Minimize outdoor activities 30 minutes prior to dark until 30 minutes after dawn.  Use mosquito repellants containing DEET.  Children under 2 years of age and pregnant women should not use DEET. 


§         Prevent mosquitoes from entering your home by ensuring that screens on windows, doors, patios and porches are in good condition.




According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of October 2, 2003, there have been 5,861 reported human cases of WNV with 115 deaths.  Georgia has reported 15 residents with WNV, including two deaths. 


For more information on WNV, please contact the Lowndes County Health Department at 229-333-5255, or the South Health District toll free at 866-801-5360.  Additional information is available on WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases at the  CDC and GDPH websites. 


posted at 4:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com 


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