West Nile Virus re-emerges in Georgia

11:57 PM, Jul 8, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Public Health today confirmed the state's first human case of West Nile Virus, and we can thank all the recent rain for it.

The rain has been good for some things. For starters, temperatures have averaged 5 to 10 degrees below normal for months now. 

Also, we haven't had any smog alert days so far this year and that's the first time we've made it this far into summer without one since 1997. But it's not all good news. Aside from flooding issues, the rain is also creating the perfect conditions for mosquitoes.

"Mosquitoes need rain and standing water to breed and produce larvae," explains Dr. Chris Rustin, Deputy Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health. 

"So with the increase and influx of rain we've had across the state, it's certainly increasing the number of mosquitoes seen. What we know is that we have one case in south Georgia. A female that has tested positive from exposure back in May, which is somewhat early, but due to the influx of rain, we know this person is positive for West Nile Virus."

Dr. Rustin says that if you want to protect you and your family, use the, Five D's of West Nile Virus Prevention

  1. Dusk/Dawn--Avoid or limit your time outdoors during this timeframe since that is when mosquitos usually bite.
  2. Dress--Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants to reducethe amount of exposed skin.
  3. DEET--Use an insect repellant containing DEET because it is the most effective repellant ingredient against mosquito bites.
  4. Drain--Empty any containers holding standing water (pots, gutters, etc.) because those are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  5. Doors--Make sure doors and windows close tightly and do not have cracks in them. Also check your window screens, and screen doors. Mosquitoes can squeeze through the smallest of cracks/holes.

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