Coastal Health District offers ways to prevent West Nile Virus - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Health dept. offers tips to prevent against West Nile Virus


The Georgia Dept. of Public Health recently confirmed that a 48-year-old Bryan County man has West Nile Virus.

It is the first confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in the Coastal Health District.

Mosquitoes carrying the virus have been circulating in southeast Georgia other parts of the state. As of Sept. 28, there have been 44 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Georgia that have resulted in two deaths in Dougherty County; one death in Early County; and one death in Gwinnett County, according to the health department. 

"With that in mind, we know we have been messaging since the beginning of the summer about the risk of West Nile in our area. We have had positive mosquito pools, meaning we have had mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus, and as soon as we get that report, we know that heightens the risk for humans developing infections," said Diane Weems, MD, Coastal Health District chief medical officer.

Mosquitoes can carry both the virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night and early morning, according to the health department. 

Health department officials urge residents to get rid of standing water containers where mosquitoes can breed, changing water frequently in pet dishes, changing bird bath water at least twice a week and avoiding using saucers under outdoor potted plants.

The Coastal Health District offers these prevention tips:

  • Dusk – Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus usually bite at dusk and dawn.
  • Dawn – Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn if possible. If you must be outside, be sure to protect yourself from bites.
  • Dress – Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.

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