September 7, 2006
Press Release from The Southwest Public Health District
ALBANY, Ga., September 7, 2006--The Southwest Public Health District (SWPHD) has announced today that another Dougherty County resident has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).
The 59-year-old male, who was hospitalized in late August, is now home recovering. This is Dougherty County's third confirmed WNV case this year. Georgia has had four confirmed cases to date.
"With the recent detection of WNV positive cases as well as the WNV positive mosquito pool in Dougherty County, we must continue to protect ourselves from being bitten by mosquitoes," said Jacqueline H. Grant, M.D., M.P.H., M.P.A., Southwest Public Health District Director.
According to health officials, the Dougherty County man presented to the emergency room with a high fever, nausea, and rash all of which are symptoms of West Nile virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that 80 percent of those bitten by an infected mosquito do not exhibit signs or symptoms of the disease. However, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems or other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.
"To reduce mosquito activity, we've expanded our surveillance efforts to include trapping and site surveillance. In addition, Dougherty County Public Works has also increased their adulticiding (spraying) and larviciding (treating stagnant water) program and surveillance efforts, but these works alone aren't enough," said Dr. Grant. "The community plays an integral role in mosquito control and prevention by eliminating breeding areas. Our efforts and those of Dougherty County Public Works must be coupled with the community's to have the greatest effect," she concluded.
WNV 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 very 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).
Health officials recommend taking the following prevention and personal protection actions to guard against mosquitoes:
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. Wear tightly woven light-colored clothing, long sleeves, pants, shoes, and socks when outdoors.
3) Use 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.
5) Repair or replace all torn screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.For more information on WNV, please contact Dougherty County Environmental Health at 229-438-3943. Additional information on WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases may also be obtained by visiting their website.
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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