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Editorials - Pickens Progress Online

21 West Nile cases, including three deaths confirmed in Georgia

Mosquito caused virus found in North Ga./ Metro Counties


Submitted by Georgia Department of Public Health

 

 

ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is calling on all Georgians to guard against exposure to mosquitoes. DPH has

identified 21 confirmed cases of the West Nile Virus (WNV) in the state. Three cases have been fatal.

Confirmed cases are in the following counties: 1 - Bartow, 3 - Cobb, 1 - Columbia, 7 - Dougherty (including 2 deaths), 1 - Fulton, 1 - Forsyth, 1 - Early (including 1 death), 1 - Lee, 1 - Mitchell, 2 - Muscogee, 1 - Richmond, and 1 - Worth.

Mosquitoes from 54 West Nile Virus monitoring sites in metro Atlanta and another 20 in coastal and south Georgia have tested positive for the

virus that can lead to brain or spinal cord swelling, or even death. DPH has deemed these areas at high risk for WNV transmission.

"The problem of mosquitoes and West Nile Virus appears to be escalating in Georgia and across the country," said J. Patrick

O'Neal, M.D., DPH's director of health protection. "More West Nile Virus cases have been confirmed by the third week in August than at any time in the last 10 years."


Dr. O'Neal urges residents to prevent water from standing in containers - where mosquitoes thrive - and to observe the "Five

D's of WNV Prevention."

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 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 because they can be

excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and

joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that usually develop three

to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly,

those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying

conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

Of those who become infected with WNV, most will fight off the virus

without any symptoms or will develop less severe West Nile fever. But

about one in 150 people bitten by infected mosquitoes 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 with a severe form of WNV infection

die from their illness, and others suffer from long-term nervous system

problems.

People with questions about WNV should speak to their healthcare

providers or call their local county health department, environmental

health office.

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. at http://oasis.state.ga.us/.


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