First West Nile case of the year confirmed - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

First West Nile case of the year confirmed

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  A child in Tifton tested positive for the mosquito borne illness and is recovering. This case serves as a reminder that West Nile is still out there and still a threat.

Health officials say they were expecting to see more cases of West Nile virus in our area this year because of all the rain we've gotten. But this is the first confirmed case of the year. Even though mosquito season is coming to an end..they still want you to be cautious of disease carrying mosquitoes.

A new study shows one in every 100 Americans has been infected with the West Nile virus, though many don't know it.

You get the virus from an infected mosquito. Symptoms can be severe, but they can also be non-existent.

"The majority of people who are infected with west Nile virus about 80 percent of them will never know it because you get over it,"said Jacqueline Jenkins, Epidemiologist. "So only 20 percent have flu like symptoms then only 150 of those develop the serious illnesses like Encephalitis and meningitis."

Health officials say West Nile virus can show up as flu like symptoms but there are tests that can determine if the symptoms are due to west Nile virus or the flu

Fortunately Dougherty County has had no cases of the virus this year. "In Dougherty county we are fortunate to have a good mosquito control program if you are having a mosquito problem you can call to the county and get someone to come out and do some extra spraying," said Donnell Mathis, Environmental Control Manager.

Environmental control officials treat the water in the daytime and spray for mosquitoes at night. Four trucks drive all over the county, spraying for hours at a time, five days a week.

"When we get a complaint we go out to the complaint and we do a surveillance around the home and we see if you have anything that's breeding mosquito once we determine the area that's the problem we set that area up to be sprayed," said Mathis.

But according to the CDC, a mosquito control program doesn't eliminate mosquitoes, so personal protection is the best.

"Just be aware when you are outside at peak mosquito hours go ahead and wear a repellent with Deet in it and also wear long sleeves if you are working in your garden or something," said Mathis.

Also avoid standing water,emptying it from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly.

Also something to keep in mind is as the temperatures get coolers many of us may be tempted to open up our windows and doors to let the cool air in, but health officials say make sure you have intact screens on those doors to prevent any mosquitoes from flying in.

Remember, mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn.

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