West Nile Virus detected in Savannah mosquito sample

Health News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Residents may have a different virus to be concerned about.

A mosquito sample collected in south Savannah has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), Chatham County Mosquito Control confirmed this week.

Mosquito control routinely tests samples throughout the area, and every summer for about the last decade has found infected mosquitoes.

A mosquito bite can translate WNV to a human but at this time, there are no human cases reported, and the county hopes to keep it that way.

“This mosquito is mainly active at dusk and dawn — that’s the biggest thing,” said Chatham County Mosquito Control Director Ture Carlson. “It’s not usually a middle of the day kind of mosquito but it’s very active at dusk and very active at dawn, so it’s important to cover up if you’re out at those times, long sleeves, long pants to protect yourself from bites.”

That advice is part of the “5 Ds” residents are encouraged to follow to help 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
  3. exposed skin.
  4. DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  5. Drain – Empty any outdoor containers holding standing water because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  6. 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.

Most people infected with WNV won’t get sick, but about 20% will have flu-like symptoms. And one out of every 150 people could develop a severe or even fatal illness.

Local health officials say there is no vaccine or cure for WNV, so the best protection is to avoid mosquito bites.

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