Mosquito Control confirms West Nile virus activity now widespread in Chatham County

Mosquito Control confirms West Nile virus activity now widespread in Chatham County

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County Mosquito Control has confirmed that samples of mosquitoes collected in multiple locations throughout Chatham County have tested positive for West Nile virus.

Last week, Mosquito Control confirmed West Nile virus in a pool of mosquitoes in midtown Savannah. CHD’s Health Director says once the virus is present in our local mosquito population, they know it’s just a matter of time before the activity becomes more widespread.

Those with the Coastal Health District say so far, no human cases of WNV have been confirmed in any Coastal Health District counties this year.

The director of Mosquito Control told county commissioners Friday he is surprised by the rapid spread of the virus within the last couple of weeks.

“So, the virus erupted more or less, which we knew it was going to be here this year. It’s not a surprise to find West Nile Virus, but how quickly it spread, and the numbers that we’re seeing is what’s surprising. I’m sure everybody has seen our helicopters get started on those missions. Every place that has tested positive, we have done treatments," Ture Carlson said.

CHD encourages residents to always follow the 5 D’s of mosquito bite prevention:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.
  • 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 the chemical DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain - Empty any containers holding standing water - buckets, barrels, flowerpots, tarps - because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly. Fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

“Fortunately, only one out of five persons who are affected with West Nile Virus would develop symptoms. Now, those symptoms, unfortunately, can be anywhere from a general feeling of tiredness or fatigue, headaches or body aches, fever, sometimes even a rash," said Robert A. Thornton, Jr., Coastal Health District, Epidemiologist.

Mosquito Control will continue treating all areas of Chatham County for mosquitoes.

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