On September 12 the Southeast Health District reported that a Wayne County resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). Public Health is strongly urging residents to take precautions to protect against mosquito bites and the possible spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as WNV.
People get WNV when they are bitten by a mosquito that is carrying it. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. As of Sept. 7, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported 29 cases in Georgia with three deaths.
Around 80 percent of those infected with the virus show no symptoms; while up to 20 percent have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a rash.
There is no specific treatment for WNV. People with severe cases are hospitalized and receive supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and respiratory treatment.
Public Health officials encourage residents to familiarize themselves with protective measures now.
“The most effective actions we can take to protect against mosquitoes are to reduce their breeding areas and to use mosquito repellant on ourselves,” says Dwain Butler, Southeast Health District Environmental Health Director. “Pour out stagnant water in birdbaths, pet dishes, old tires and any other receptacle in which mosquitoes might breed. This will greatly reduce mosquito populations.”
Public Health officials also suggest making sure you and your children use mosquito repellant on exposed skin and clothing when outdoors during times mosquitoes are most active, usually early morning or evening hours. Recommended repellants contain: DEET, picardin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. All repellants should be used according to package instructions.
Residents should also check and repair windows and doors that have screens. This will help prevent mosquitoes from getting inside.
For more information about these protective measures or mosquito-borne illnesses, contact your local health department or visit www.cdc.gov or visit the Southeast Health District’s website at http://www.sehdph.org.