Mosquitoes in Chatham County test positive for West Nile Virus

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Chatham County Mosquito Control confirms that samples of mosquitoes collected across Chatham County have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). Mosquito Control confirmed last week that mosquito samples in Pooler tested positive for WNV.

According to the Coastal Health District at the Georgia Dept. of Public Health, once WNV activity is detected in mosquitoes, it is an indication that the virus is actively circulating in local mosquito populations – regardless of the specific location of positive mosquito pools.

Recent weather patterns have not allowed Mosquito Control to conduct control operations; therefore, weekend missions will be scheduled. Residents should expect to see Mosquito Control’s low flying, yellow helicopters on a regular basis throughout the county this weekend (July 20-22) between the hours of 7:30-9 p.m.

No human cases of WNV have been confirmed in any Coastal Health District counties, including Chatham. About 80% of the people who get WNV never even know it because they don’t develop symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

WNV is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause mild to serious illness. Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night, and early morning. The Chatham County Health Department and Chatham County Mosquito Control urge residents to take appropriate precautions now and throughout the summer to minimize mosquitoes around their property.

One of the most effective ways of preventing mosquito breeding and thus the spread of mosquito-borne viruses is controlling the mosquito population by getting rid of standing water around the home and in the yard. Residents are urged to clean up around their homes, yards, and communities and get rid of unnecessary items that can hold water and turn into mosquito breeding grounds.

One way to do this is “Tip ‘n Toss.” After every rainfall, tip out water in flowerpots, planters, children’s toys, wading pools, buckets, and anything else that may be holding water. If it holds water and you don’t need it (old tires, bottles, cans), toss it out. It’s also a good idea to change water frequently in outdoor pet dishes, change birdbath water at least twice a week and avoid using saucers under outdoor potted plants.

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