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Human tests positive for West Nile Virus in South Georgia

Mosquitoes
Posted at 4:21 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 12:24:04-04

ECHOLS COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) - The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed one person has tested positive for West Nile Virus in South Georgia. 

The department announced Tuesday that one person has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Echols County. Mosquitoes in Lowndes County tested positive for the virus last month.

“While most people infected with West Nile Virus show no symptoms of the illness and pass it on their own, even healthy people have become severely ill for weeks when infected,” said Kenneth Lowery, the district epidemiologist.

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that usually develop two to 14 days after being infected.

The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

There is no WNV vaccine for humans nor is there a specific treatment. People with severe cases are hospitalized and receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids and respiratory treatment.

They say three horses in Brooks, Cook and Lowndes County have also tested positive for mosquito-borne diseases. A horse in Colquitt County tested positive for EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, earlier this month. 

Unlike humans, horses can be vaccinated for some mosquito-borne diseases by contacting a local veterinarian.

In general, officials say the best protection is to avoid being bitten. 

People are urged to take the following precautions:

  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or PMD.  Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.
  • Any containers that can collect water should be discarded or dumped daily.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk to reduce the amount of exposed skin, as weather permits.
  • Avoid being outdoors from dusk to dawn, peak mosquito biting times, if possible.
  • Set up outdoor fans to keep mosquitoes from flying near you.

For more information about mosquito-borne diseases, call your local health department or visit www.cdc.gov/.