West Nile virus found in Dougherty County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

West Nile virus found in Dougherty County

August 15, 2006
Georgia Public Health Press Release

ALBANY, Ga.  --  The Georgia Public Health Laboratory has verified that a Dougherty County resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

Public Health officials are urging all residents of Southwest Georgia to take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their families from WNV. This is the State's first WNV human case this year.

West Nile is a potentially serious mosquito-transmitted disease that can cause illness or death. Though 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, such as meningitis (swelling of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) or encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

"This unfortunate incident reinforces the need for all of us to be vigilant in practicing prevention techniques to help control mosquito breeding. It is the responsibility of all of us, the community as a whole, to ensure that our backyards are not breeding grounds for mosquitoes," said District Health Director Jacqueline H. Grant. 

"Practicing prevention techniques that control mosquito breeding, coupled with applying personal protection techniques, has proven effective in combating West Nile virus," she concluded.

According to public health experts, the best ways to avoid the disease are to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Health officials recommend taking the following prevention and personal protection actions:

1) Avoid outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

2) Dress appropriately when outdoors for long periods of time or when mosquitoes are most active. Experts recommend wearing tightly woven light-colored clothing, long sleeves, pants, shoes, and socks when outdoors.

3) CDC recommends use of insect repellents with DEET as an active ingredient. Always follow the directions on the package for the safest and most effective use.

4) Eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes lay eggs and breed in areas with standing water. Clean gutters and empty accumulated water in flowerpots, old tires, and recycling bins. For more information about WNV, please contact the Dougherty County Environmental Health Office at 229-438-3943.

Additional information about WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases may be obtained by visiting www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org . Serving more than 300,000 southwest Georgians, Southwest Public Health District is dedicated to providing comprehensive, quality education and services to promote healthy communities.

Our mission is to prevent disease, injury, and disability; promote health and well-being; and prepare for disasters.

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