West Nile Virus hits Dougherty County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

West Nile Virus hits Dougherty County

September 7, 2007

Albany -- Lendward Jackson and his wife have been coming out to Lake Loretta to fish for the past two years. And both say they have been pretty lucky with the fish they've been able to catch.

"Catfish. A bunch of catfish, but we catch some graham, and sonnys. But still the most you'll catch out here is catfish," said Jackson.

But one thing neither one of them wants to catch is West Nile. A virus they have a higher chance of getting since they don't use mosquito spray. "I don't have to because no bugs be at me," said Jackson.

But even if you are lucky enough to avoid mosquito bites, you need to protect yourself especially now that we are in the West Nile Virus peak season. "This year we have had more cases in the state, as well as more cases outside of Georgia," said Southwest Georgia Public Health Director, Dr. Jacqueline Grant.

But there are things you can do to keep from becoming the next case. "Wearing long sleeve clothing, that is certainly going to provide some protection," said Dr. Grant. And if its to hot to wear long sleeves and pants, be sure to wear insect repellent with deet.

Also dumping out any container that has still standing water prevents providing a place for mosquitos to breed.

If you do get infected, you may not know it. Symptoms are similar to the flu. "One in a hundred and fifty will show the more severe symptoms: very high fever, severe head ache, confusion," said Dr. Grant.

Regardless of the odds, its is important always to stay protected. The peak season for West Nile Virus is late summer and early fall. West Nile symptoms can take three to 14 days to surface.  There is no specific treatment for the virus.

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