First human case of West Nile virus found in Chatham County

First human case of West Nile virus found in Chatham County

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Tuesday, the Coastal Health District confirmed the first case of a person being infected with West Nile virus in Chatham County in 2019.

July was the first time Chatham County Mosquito Control found signs of the disease in 2019 in mosquitoes in the county. The disease quickly spread across mosquito populations in the county after the first detection. The Coastal Health District says 2019 is already the second most active year for West Nile in Chatham County mosquitoes. Last year, there were 36 human cases of West Nile and two deaths across Georgia.

The Coastal Health District reminds citizens that mosquitoes with West Nile are more likely to bite from evening to early morning. Getting rid of standing water around your home can reduce mosquito breeding locations and wearing bug spray with DEET can help prevent bites.

“Most people don’t even know that they have been infected, so about 80 percent of people will never have any kind of illness associated with West Nile virus,” said Ture Carlson, Director, Chatham County Mosquito Control. “So, just because you have one case, doesn’t mean there aren’t more people who have been exposed to West Nile virus. They just maybe haven’t become sick yet."

Those that do get sick might have fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash. About 1 in 150 will develop potentially fatal symptoms affecting the central nervous system.

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