How you can prevent West Nile - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How you can prevent West Nile

August 14, 2007

Albany - We could be in for a record West Nile Virus season, but health workers want to make sure it's not a deadly one. Last year, The only West Nile death in Georgia was an Albany man.

Health workers expect more cases this year than the last couple of years,  Perhaps more than ever. So they want you to know about the danger and how to protect yourself.

It hasn't rained much this summer, but truth be told, it doesn't take much water for mosquitoes to thrive. That's why a group from district health is canvassing the streets, letting folks know the risks of mosquito borne illnesses, specifically the West Nile Virus. "We're expecting a very heavy mosquito season this year," said Epidemiologist Jacqueline Jenkins.

That's because the season for mosquito activity started off with a bang for West Nile cases. "This time last year," Jenkins said, "we had about 15 cases in the US of WNV, now we have over 122, so it's looking pretty bad."

Last year Dougherty County had three cases of West Nile Virus, including the only death from the disease reported in the state. Health officials don't want a repeat. "We got bad mosquitoes here," said one woman.

Clinton Johnson said, "This neighborhood is very susceptible," as he was educating one resident.  "It has two high level age groups in it. Small children and elderly people and we just want to give info out to let them know what they can do to prevent."

See how the water in this holding pond isn't moving much at all? That stagnant water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, making this neighborhood a target for WNV.

Neighbors can't do anything about the pond, but they can fight the mosquitoes by wearing repellant, eliminating breeding sites next to their homes and installing screens on windows.

On Saturday, The health department will hold a West Nile Virus Prevention and Education Day will be held at C.W. Heath Park from 8-11 AM. Free school supplies will also be given out.

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