West Nile Virus detected in Chatham County mosquito samples

Health News

WILMINGTON ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Two mosquito samples from Wilmington Island have tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Chatham County Health Department.

These samples are the first in the county to test positive for WNV this year.

Chatham County Mosquito Control will be increasing prevention measures in the area as officials say the samples indicate the virus is actively circulating in local mosquito populations.

WNV is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito and can cause mild to serious illness.

“Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick,” the Chatham County Health Department stated. “About 20% of people who are infected will have mild symptoms like a fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.”

Officials say of those infected, one out of 150 people develop a severe and sometimes fatal illness.

Chatham County residents are urged to follow the “5 Ds” to prevent mosquito bites:

  1. Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk and dawn activities during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.
  2. Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  3. DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  4. Drain – Empty any outdoor containers holding standing water because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  5. 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.

According to the health department, there has been one human case of WNV confirmed in Georgia this year, though none in the Coastal Health District’s eight counties (including Chatham County).

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