Albany -- Mosquitoes have long been equated with pesky summer visitors that no one wants around. But the tiny nuisances can pose a serious danger, especially if they are carriers of the West Nile virus. And with three people infected in Dougherty County last year, there are important steps you can take to avoid mosquito bites.
Melvin Chambliss understands the dangers that mosquitoes can bring. So when he fishes, he is sure to wear bug repellant.
"The West Nile virus man, it's killing folks."
Chambliss is right, the disease can be deadly. In fact, of the 4,268 human cases reported last year in the United States, 177 of those resulted in death.
So far this year, the dry weather in Georgia has made it hard for mosquitoes to find ample breading grounds. But the rainfall from this weekend's tropical depression that brought up to 5 inches of rainfall to some areas, created excellent environments for mosquito eggs to hatch.
Heavy weekend rainfall created puddles of standing water in local drainage ditches which are hot beds for mosquito activity.
Items that might be found in your yard such as plastic buckets and old tires provide a warm and damp environment for mosquitoes. Even a bird bath can pose a potential hazard.
Clifford A. Brown is sure to empty any standing water around his yard.
"I just keep all the water poured out and stuff. I don't leave any standing water around. If you have that, you're going to have some problems."
Mosquitoes experience their highest level of activity early in the morning and at dusk. Those that are most at risk of contracting the West Nile virus are the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. But one of the biggest fighters against the spread of the West Nile virus is mosquito repellent.
And with four cases of the West Nile Virus already reported so far this year in Mississippi, it's important to take early precautions.