Zika virus confirmed in FL: What that means for SWGA - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Zika virus confirmed in FL: What that means for SWGA

Folks in South Georgia are on high alert tonight after four Zika cases likely came from mosquitoes in South Florida. (Source: WALB) Folks in South Georgia are on high alert tonight after four Zika cases likely came from mosquitoes in South Florida. (Source: WALB)
These are the first cases of Zika in this country not linked to travel. (Source: WALB) These are the first cases of Zika in this country not linked to travel. (Source: WALB)
Mathis said he's expecting a spike in calls from concerned residents now that four Zika cases likely came from mosquitoes in South Florida. (Source: WALB) Mathis said he's expecting a spike in calls from concerned residents now that four Zika cases likely came from mosquitoes in South Florida. (Source: WALB)
"Whoever calls, we go out and take a look around the home. If they're having some problems, we show them what's causing the problem so they can try to get rid of the source," said Environmental Control Manager Donell Mathis. (Source: WALB) "Whoever calls, we go out and take a look around the home. If they're having some problems, we show them what's causing the problem so they can try to get rid of the source," said Environmental Control Manager Donell Mathis. (Source: WALB)
"What's happening in Florida can change the game because we are so close to South Florida. We're going to definitely do everything that we can to look at the mosquito pool and test the mosquito pool," said epidemiologist Jacqueline Jenkins. (Source: WALB) "What's happening in Florida can change the game because we are so close to South Florida. We're going to definitely do everything that we can to look at the mosquito pool and test the mosquito pool," said epidemiologist Jacqueline Jenkins. (Source: WALB)
DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) -

Folks in South Georgia are on high alert tonight after four Zika cases likely came from mosquitoes in South Florida. 

These are the first cases of Zika in this country not linked to travel.

It now means a greater threat for all of us.

Public Works trucks are out and about spraying all over Dougherty County.

"Whoever calls, we go out and take a look around the home. If they're having some problems, we show them what's causing the problem so they can try to get rid of the source," said Environmental Control Manager Donell Mathis.

Mathis said he's expecting a spike in calls from concerned residents now that four Zika cases likely came from mosquitoes in South Florida. 

"They know we're out there. I think they have faith in our program that we're going to do everything that we can to combat the problem that we have here in Dougherty County," said Mathis.

So far, Georgia has no locally-transmitted cases of the Zika virus and until now, health experts have focused on a person's travel history to areas such as the Caribbean and South America. 

"What's happening in Florida can change the game because we are so close to South Florida. We're going to definitely do everything that we can to look at the mosquito pool and test the mosquito pool," said epidemiologist Jacqueline Jenkins.

Jenkins said nearly 80 percent of people who are infected with the virus won't know it. But infection during pregnancy can lead to brain-related birth defects. 

"The high-risk population that we're most concerned about is pregnant women and the outcome of their fetus. In the most current guidance, there's no trimester that you're not at risk. So you're at risk throughout your pregnancy," said Jenkins.

Jenkins and Mathis agree that the responsibility ultimately lies with you. Make sure you don't leave any standing water. If you do, tip and toss. 

"Can we get rid of all the mosquitoes? No. But we can do the best job that we are prepared for and the best job we know how to do," said Mathis.

Jenkins said if you do experience symptoms such as rash, joint pain, fatigue, and conjunctivitis, contact your physician.

She also recommends using repellant with 30 percent deet. 

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