Southwest Health District urges early precautions against mosquito-borne illnesses

Southwest Health District urges early precautions against mosquito-borne illnesses
Southwest Health District urges citizens to take precautions against the West Nile virus.

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Because of an unusually warm winter and an unseasonably warm spring, average mosquito activity may be higher across the region.

Usually the West Nile Virus is a seasonal epidemic that flares up in the summer, peaks in South Georgia in August and continues into the fall.

“More mosquitoes mean the potential for more mosquito-borne illnesses,” Dr. Charles Ruis, Southwest Health District health director, said. “For that reason, we’re asking people to take precautions against getting bitten earlier that we usually do.”

So far, no cases of the area’s most common mosquito-borne illnesses or the West Nile virus have been reported in the Southwest Health District.

Ruis said those who are at risk of experiencing from a West Nile infection include older adults, people who have received an organ transplant, young children and people with a compromised immune system.

Five D’s of mosquito-borne illness prevention:

  • Dusk/Dawn- Mosquitoes usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
  • Dress- Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  • DEET- Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain- Empty containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors- Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and close tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

For more information, go to the Southwest Health District’s website.

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