SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — This week Chatham County Mosquito Control confirmed several mosquito samples that tested positive for the West Nile virus. The first samples were collected from Savannah’s southside and Islands area.
Health experts say it comes with the territory and the time of year.
“Typically, in the summer we see West Nile virus,” said Dr. Chris Rustin, an administrator with the Chatham County Health Department. “The mosquitoes that transmit West Nile are usually found close to your home. They like to lay eggs and breed in stagnant water. And so, it’s very important that if you got items around your home holding water that you discard those items that are not needed or dump the water out on a routine basis.”
The virus symptoms can be mild for most but about 20% of those carrying the virus can experience symptoms like fever, rash and joint pain among other things.
In rare cases, the virus can be fatal.
“Anyone who is elderly and has a compromised immune system are certainly at a much higher risk or if they get infected with West Nile having an adverse outcome,” Rustin said.
To best protect yourself from mosquito bites, the health department and mosquito control advise you to apply bug spray, empty outside containers of water and protect your skin by wearing long sleeves and pants.
“If you’re out and about these mosquitoes are primarily active at dusk or dawn,” Rustin said. “But also, to consider that if you got any doors on your home or windows that have screens that are ripped. Make sure those are repaired.”
Rustin said if you follow these steps, you’ll easily reduce the chances of contracting the virus.