First Human Case of West Nile Confirmed In Georgia

| July 9, 2013

mosquito-3The Georgia Department of Public Health today confirmed the state’s first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV). The adult patient from Brantley County was infected in May and recovered without hospitalization or complications. Most people get WVN after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Because of this early case of WNV and the heavy rain over the past few weeks, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is urging Georgians to protect themselves against mosquitoes.

“Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile Virus,” said Rosmarie Kelly, Ph.D., MPH, Georgia Department of Public Health entomologist. “In the heat of summer, it can take less than 10 days to go from egg to adult mosquito.”

Residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by emptying standing water from containers – flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths – anything that holds water and gives mosquitoes a place to thrive.

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.  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 long-term nervous system problems.

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