Officials confirm first human case of West Nile Virus in Georgia - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Officials confirm first human case of West Nile Virus in Georgia

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BRANTLEY CO., GA (WTOC) -

On Monday, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the state's first human case of West Nile Virus. Officials say the adult patient from Brantley County was infected in May but recovered without hospitalization or complications.

Because of the early case of West Nile Virus and the heavy rains taking place in recent weeks, the Georgia Department of Public Health is urging Georgia residents to protect themselves against mosquitoes.

 "Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile Virus," said Rosmarie Kelly, Ph.D., MPH, Georgia Department of Public Health entomologist, in a press release. "In the heat of summer, it can take less than 10 days to go from egg to adult mosquito."

According to officials, residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, birdbaths or anything that holds water and gives mosquitoes a place to thrive.

Officials say the most effective way to avoid West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites. They say the best way to do that is to observe the Five D's of WNV Prevention:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying WNV 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.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the 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.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

According to officials, symptoms of the virus include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. The symptoms usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Officials say the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and those with other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

Officials say most people who become infected with the virus will fight it off without any systems or will develop a less severe West Nile fever. One in 150 people bitten by an infected mosquito will develop encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Approximately 10 percent of people who get a severe form of the West Nile Virus infection will die from their illness, and others suffer long-term nervous system problems.

More information on WNV can be found at the CDC's site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

Further information on repellents is also available from the CDC: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm

The Department's surveillance data on the West Nile Virus is available on O.A.S.I.S.: http://oasis.state.ga.us/.

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