A Brantley County resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to officials with the Southeast Health District.
This is the first positive case of WNV in Georgia and 10th in the U.S. this year, according to Georgia Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. The resident was infected in May and recovered without hospitalization or complications, according to SEHD officials.
Residents are strongly urged to take precautions to protect against mosquito bites and the possible spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as WNV. People get WNV when they are bitten by a mosquito that is carrying it. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.
Around 80 percent of those infected with the virus show no symptoms; while up to 20 percent have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a rash. There is no specific treatment for WNV. People with severe cases are hospitalized and receive supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and respiratory treatment.
SEHD officials encourage residents to familiarize themselves with protective measures now. The best way to prevent WNV infection is to take personal protection measures to reduce mosquito bites. Public Health officials recommend the 5 D's:
- Dusk/Dawn: Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus usually bite at dusk and dawn. Limit outdoor activity during those hours.
- Dress: Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
- DEET: Cover exposed skin and clothes with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET. It is the most effective repellant against mosquito bites.
- Drain: Empty any containers (buckets, barrels, kiddie pools) holding standing water to prevent breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- Doors: Make sure doors, windows and screens are in good condition and fit tightly to keep out mosquitoes.
For more information about these protective measures or mosquito-borne illnesses, contact your local health department or visit www.sehdph.org.