DUNWOODY, Ga. -- A Dunwoody woman is the latest victim of a dangerous mosquito-borne virus spreading through Georgia.
A DeKalb County Health Department spokesperson said the victim, who was in her 90s, died overnight from West Nile Virus.
It's the county's first death from the virus in three years. As of October 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there was one other death in the state.
DeKalb County officials reported a spike in the number of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus in late July. Around that time, mosquito traps in Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Decatur and Tucker all showed signs of the sickness. At the end of August, health officials confirmed finding West Nile Virus in animals.
Signs of West Nile Virus are similar to a cold or flu -- including headache, fever, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes or rash. Symptoms can appear between three and 15 days after being bitten.
West Nile Virus can be particularly dangerous for the elderly, people with weakened immune systems or people with other medical conditions.
The Georgia Department of Health offered tips for anyone outdoors during the peak mosquito season. These include:
► Avoiding going out at dusk or dawn: Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
► Wearing loose clothing: Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
► Using DEET: Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
► A tight seal: Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.
“Georgians can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes and yards by getting rid of standing water,” said Chris Rustin, Director of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.”