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West Nile Virus Infections Increase in Georgia


The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed seven human cases of West Nile virus so far this year, including one death. Additionally, there has been one confirmed case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) which resulted in death. EEE is rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year.

Georgians are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly when they are outside this Labor Day weekend. Elmer Gray is with the UGA Cooperative Extension Service.

“The key to preventing any of this is to eliminate the standing water around our homes,” according to Gray. “Make sure the screens are intact on your screens and windows, your doors. Wear light-colored, loose fitting clothes, that make sure less attractive to the female mosquitoes, remember only the female mosquitoes bite, they’re biting to get blood to produce their eggs and then using EPA approved repellants.”

Mosquito season in Georgia typically lasts through October, sometimes longer depending on the weather.

The most effective way to protect against WNV infection and all mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquito bites. Observe the “Five D’s of Prevention” during your outdoor activities this holiday weekend:

Department of Public Health tips:

Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying WNV usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.

Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.

DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.

Drain - Empty any containers holding standing water because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.

Doors – 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.

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