West Nile Virus in Dougherty County mosquitoes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

West Nile Virus in Dougherty County mosquitoes

September 13, 2005 
from SW Ga. Public Health

ALBANY, Ga., -- The Georgia Division of Public Health has confirmed that a mosquito pool in Dougherty County tested positive for West Nile Vvirus. This is the first time West Nile has been identified in Dougherty County this year. To date, no human infections of West Nile  have been identified in the Southwest Health District.

West Nile virus 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 illnesses like meningitis (swelling of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) or encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

"We are moving into a time of year when we can expect more mosquitoes, and thus a higher risk of mosquito borne disease," said Susan Reyher, Director, Dougherty County Environmental Health. "Personal protection steps are even more important now than they have been due to the season and the knowledge that one pool of mosquitoes has tested positive for West Nile virus."

Residents of Dougherty County can also significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes, and their risk of contracting a mosquito-borne illness by practicing a few simple mosquito prevention and control techniques.

Such measures should be taken to lessen the number of mosquitoes around your home:

  • Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
  • Remove all discarded tires from your property and dispose of them properly.
  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers.
  • Do not use saucers under your outdoor potted plants.
  • Cover or apply larvicide to water barrels.
  • Pick up trash.
  • Make sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the Spring and Fall.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. If not in use, keep empty and covered.
  • Drain water from pool covers.
  • Change the water in birdbaths and animal water dishes at least every three or four days.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Remind or help neighbors to eliminate mosquito-breeding sites on their properties.
  • Repair or replace all screens in your home that have tears or holes to keep mosquitoes out of your home. Dougherty County residents can take simple precautions to reduce their risk of contracting a West Nile virus or any other mosquito-borne disease.

· Avoid shaded, bushy areas where mosquitoes like to rest
· Wear protective clothing especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
· Limit outdoor evening activity
· Wear a mosquito repellant that contains DEET or Picaridin.

For more information on mosquitoes, please contact the Dougherty County Health Department Environmental Health Program at 229-438-3943 or visit www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org  or www.cdc.gov.

The Southwest Health District is dedicated to providing comprehensive, quality education and services throughout Southwest Georgia to promote and preserve the health and well being of its citizens and communities.