West Nile virus case confirmed in SE Georgia

State reports first case in Coastal Health District

Published On: Oct 03 2012 12:30:47 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 03 2012 12:35:05 PM EDT
CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. -

The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed a human case of West Nile Virus a 48-year-old Bryan County man.

Although this is the first confirmed case of human WNV in the Coastal Health District, the virus has been circulating among the mosquito population in southeast Georgia, in other parts of the state, in northeast Florida and around the country.

As of Sept. 28, there have been 44 confirmed cases of WNV in Georgia, including four deaths (two in Dougherty County; one in Early County; and one in Gwinnett County).

“We’ve known that the virus is out there, which is why we have continually urged residents in all of our counties to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Diane Weems, interim director for the Coastal Health District.

Mosquitoes can carry WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Both are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause mild to serious illness. Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night and early morning

There are several easy things residents can do to reduce mosquito breeding including removing water-holding containers, changing water frequently in pet dishes, changing bird bath water at least twice a week, and avoiding using saucers under outdoor potted plants.

In addition, consider organizing or participating in clean-up activities to pick up garbage from parks and other public spaces. By helping to limit potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes, every resident can contribute to reducing the nuisance caused by mosquitoes and stop the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases.

The Coastal Health District encourages residents to follow the five “Ds” of prevention: