Temp drops, but doesn't kill mosquitoes - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Temp drops, but doesn't kill mosquitoes

November 19, 2003

Albany-- Just because the weather is chillier, the mosquitoes aren't gone. That means the threat of West Nile Virus remains.

Most mosquitoes do not fly far from where they breed. Birdbaths, and buckets of water should both be dumped once a week.

A lot of this rain has caused standing water. "We really don't get enough cold weather to kill them or knock them down too bad," said Mel Jones of Dougherty Co. Environmental Health.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water. "As long as there are mosquitoes, there will be West Nile around, said Dr. Craig Smith, Infectious Disease Director.

But, here's a comforting thought-- most mosquitoes do not carry the West Nile Virus. So, what are the chances of you getting the virus? "Chances are you and I already had it and never ever realized it," said Smith.

According to the Georgia Department of Human Resources, 80% of those who are infected with the West Nile Virus will not get sick. Only one out of 150 people infected will develop severe illness affecting the brain and nervous system.

"Those will be the ones who end up in the hospital one out of 150," Dr. Smith said. But 20 % who are infected with the virus will have mild illness with similar symptoms to the flu. Fever, headache and muscle aches.

"Nothing distinctive about it except what time of year it is and if you've had mosquito bites and then we have blood tests to diagnose it also," said Dr. Smith.

Flu hits fast and West Nile takes a few days. In fact, in the past few weeks a person in Lee County tested positive of what could be West Nile Virus. It is not a confirmed case, it all depends on results from the state lab.

Peak flu season is January and February. Doctors say there may be a few weeks where flu and West Nile will overlap. One thing that's very distinctive-- flu can cause problems like sinus, runny nose and coughs-- but West Nile does not.

People over the age of 50 and those who have weakened immune systems are most at risk of being affected by West Nile Virus.

posted at 5:30PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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