BROOKHAVEN, Ga. -- Health department officials have confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in Brookhaven.
DeKalb County's health department confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the mosquito-borne illness infected a 72-year-old Brookhaven man, who is currently hospitalized due to the illness.
"The DeKalb County Board of Health and the City of Brookhaven have been monitoring and treating for the prevention of the mosquito population within Brookhaven for months," a city official said in a statement.
Officials are also monitoring mosquito activity at Blackburn and Murphey-Candler parks, and treating storm drains.
“We’re going to redouble our efforts, we’re going to check all of our parks, we're going to check all of our ponds and waterways, and areas of known standing water, and we'll be treating that with larvicide,” city spokesperson Burke Brennan said.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, about 80 percent of people infected with West Nile Virus never know it, it has no affect on them. About 20 percent of the people infected experience fatigue, joint pain and general weakness, and recover completely within a few days. But about one percent of those infected get seriously ill, with some of them dying.
Dr. Cherie Drenzek with Georgia DPH said the case in Brookhaven is the second known West Nile Virus infection in a human, in Georgia, so far in 2017. There were six known West Nile Virus infections in humans in Georgia in 2016, and every year there are about six to ten known cases in the state.
“The overall risk is low, but indeed, individuals that have pre-existing medical conditions, or who are over the age of 60, may be more prone to this severe form of West Nile Virus infection,” Drenzek said. "West Nile Virus still poses a risk to humans, and the most important thing that they can do is to prevent mosquito bites."
Officials are taking special preparations to reduce the mosquito population. But they're also asking the public to take their own precautions, as well.
Tips to prevent mosquito bites:
- Apply insect repellent. DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are effective repellents recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks, particularly at dawn and dusk and in mosquito-prone areas.
- Eliminate standing water in gutters, planters, toys, wheelbarrows and old tires. A mosquito needs only a few drops of water in order to breed and lay eggs.
- Trim tall grass, weeds, and vines to discourage mosquitoes
- Ensure window and door screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
- CDC info: West Nile
- Georgia Department of Public Health: Mosquito-Borne Viral Diseases
- DeKalb Health info: West Nile
- DeKalb Health: Environmental safety