West Nile Virus case confirmed - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

West Nile Virus case confirmed

from the South Health District

Valdosta, GA - South Health District of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is calling on all Georgians to guard against exposure to mosquitoes. 

DPH has identified one confirmed case and one probable case of the West Nile Virus (WNV) in the state and more than 100 mosquito sampling pools have tested positive for the virus that can lead to brain or spinal cord swelling, even death.

On July 6, a 52-year-old Chatham County female became ill and tested positive for WNV. Four days later, an 85 year old Glynn County man also became ill.

Samples associated with his case are now undergoing testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the Georgia Public Health Lab (GPHL).

"The problem of mosquitoes and West Nile Virus has escalated this year in Georgia, as well as the rest of the country -- with the virus causing more serious central nervous system involvement than in past years," said J. Patrick O'Neal, M.D., DPH's Director of the Division of Health Protection.

Dr. O'Neal urges residents to prevent water from standing in containers and to take other precautions:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk to reduce the amount of exposed skin
  • Consider using insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or PMD.  DEET offers protection against mosquito bites up to 5 hours depending on how much DEET is in the product. Picaridin also provides relief from mosquito bites. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label. 
  • Set up outdoor fans to keep mosquitoes from flying near you

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

People with questions about WNV should call their local health department or visit http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

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