West Nile Virus case in Dougherty Co. - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

West Nile Virus case in Dougherty Co.

Sept. 17, 2002

A 47-year old man went to the doctor August 30th and was hospitalized three days later.  A test at a state lab shows he has West Nile Virus, and it's prompting new warnings about the dangers of mosquitoes.

Dougherty County Public Works crews continue working to get rid of mosquitoes that could carry the dangerous West Nile Virus.  County Environmental Control Manager Donell Mathis says, "We're out five nights a week, Monday through Friday, spraying five hours a night."

That means the trucks should spray near your house about once a week or so.  "Probably every seven to nine days we'll be covering the county," said Mathis.

Health officials know mosquitoes here carry West Nile. That's apparently how the Dougherty County man got the disease. He has been seriously ill, suffering seizures and going into a coma after having flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle weakness, and headaches.

District Health Department Environmental Health Director Mel Jones said, "If you're having that headache, fever, rash, tired like that and they don't seem to be responding, then you need to seek medical attention."

Health officials say you should get rid of standing water around your home, use mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves when you can, and try to stay inside as much as possible when mosquitoes are most active. Jones said, "we say dusk to dawn is feeding time period, so try to minimize your stay outside when mosquitoes are feeding."

The county mosquito fighters want you to call them if you're having a mosquito problem. "When the calls come in, we do expect to respond and to prevent breeding and to treat those areas," said Mathis.

In addition to spraying, they use chemicals in standing water to kill larvae. Mathis said, "I think we've got a good program here, and I think we're doing a great job as far as keeping our mosquitoes down." And they hope that program will help prevent future cases of West Nile Virus.

posted at 11:46PM by ben.roberts@walb.com