ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The same mosquitoes that carry 'Zika' thrive in South Georgia. Doctors say it's not a matter of if we will see cases here but when.
Phoebe physicians are leading the charge to promote awareness before mosquito season.
"The Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is a mosquito we already have here in Southwest Georgia."
Like West Nile,Zika is transmitted by an infected mosquito. "There is no local transmission which means no mosquito we know of here is infected these are all people traveling back from latin American countries and the Caribbean," said Dr. Bill Sewell.
But if an infected person is bitten by a mosquito, and that mosquito breeds the Zika disease will spread rapidly.
"80 percent of the time, four out of five patients don't even know they have been infected, but the 20% have rapid onset of fever, a big welt rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis or pink eye," Sewell said. "It is almost undoubtedly is going to show up in South Georgia."
Prevention is key. From wearing mosquito repellent products with DEET, to not giving mosquitoes a place to breed in standing water.
But with Zika, the biggest danger is for the unborn. "There has been a link, not an exact association, but a link with microcephaly, which is a small head, and a fetus with a small head can cause brain damage."
Women will need to be careful this summer, especially those who are in the early stages of pregnancy.