Health officials offer mosquito safety tips

ATLANTA (WTOC) - Mosquitoes are still a threat to Georgia residents this summer, the state health department warns.

As the summer comes to an end and temperatures are decreasing, the Georgia Department of Community Health stresses the importance of minimizing exposure to mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus. When enjoying the great outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and insect repellant containing DEET.

Since mosquitoes need water to breed, eliminate breeding grounds and reduce the number of mosquitoes by removing areas of standing water. Dispose of old tires, regularly empty buckets, flowerpots, and any other water-holding containers, turn over plastic pools and wheelbarrows, keep swimming pools cleaned and properly chlorinated, drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outside, repairing leaky pipes and outdoor faucets, keeping gutters cleared and purchasing mosquito dunks or torpedoes.

Symptoms of the West Nile Virus include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and rash. People with compromised immune systems or other underlying conditions are at a greater risk for complications from the disease. In rare cases, the virus can cause encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, inflammation of the spinal cord and lining of the brain.

For more information on the West Nile Virus and prevention methods, log onto

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.