West Nile Virus confirmed in Mitchell County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

West Nile Virus confirmed in Mitchell County

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September 11, 2007
Press release from the Southwest Public Health District

CAMILLA, Ga. - Southwest Georgia Public Health District Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant announced today that an 82-year-old Camilla resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

"She has been hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit and is recovering," Grant said.

It is the second human case of the mosquito-borne illness to be confirmed in the district in 2007, and the first confirmed case in Mitchell County.

Those most at risk of developing serious illnesses when infected with West Nile are people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems, said Grant.

"We know that West Nile virus is here to stay in our district," she cautioned. "Residents need to be proactive."

Most people who are infected with the disease do not have symptoms. "Those with a mild infection may experience flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes and rashes," Grant said. "A small number of people infected may develop serious illnesses such as meningitis, which is swelling of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord; or encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain."

Sixteen other Georgia residents have been diagnosed with the disease so far this year, said Southwest District Public Health Epidemiologist Jackie Jenkins.

In 2006, eight Georgians contracted West Nile Virus. Of that number, three were Dougherty County residents. One of the Dougherty cases was a fatality.

"We have been urging residents to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to control mosquito breeding because the signs pointed to this being an extremely active mosquito season," Jenkins said.

    • Ways to reduce the risk of infection from West Nile Virus include:
      • Avoid outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active - at dawn and dusk
      • Cover exposed skin if you must be outside
      • Use insect repellent with active ingredients such as DEET, oil or lemon eucalyptus or picaridin
      • Drain standing water
      • Repair screens

For more information about West Nile virus, go online to www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.