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Published On: Mon, Sep 2nd, 2019

Atlanta area sees 1st human West Nile virus case this year

By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Fulton County health officials are urging County residents to take measures to protect themselves and their families from West Nile virus (WNV) after a local hospital verified a 44-year-old woman living in the county has tested positive for the virus.

mosquito

Photo/CDC

This is Fulton County’s first human case of WNV this year.

“This unfortunate incident reinforces the need for all of us to remain vigilant in practicing prevention techniques to control mosquito breeding,” said S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., Interim District Health Director, Fulton County Board of Health said.  “Practicing prevention techniques that control mosquito breeding, coupled with applying personal protection techniques, has proven effective in combating West Nile virus.”

WNV is a potentially serious mosquito-transmitted disease that can cause illness or death. Though most people who are infected with the disease do not have symptoms, others may experience mild or flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, and rash. A small number of people infected may develop serious illnesses, such as meningitis (swelling of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) or encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

Eliminating standing water in and around your home is the most effective way to prevent mosquito breeding.  According to public health officials, a significant amount of water is not necessary for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.  In fact, a mosquito can lay dozens of eggs in a water-filled bottle cap.  Tossing out any amount of water can make a huge difference in reducing the number of mosquitoes around your home.

The Board of Health recommends that you apply tip ‘n toss techniques by  turning  over flower pots, covering wading pools and throwing  out water stored in buckets, pet bowls and other containers after every rainfall. Taking these actions at least once a week can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home. In addition to applying  tip ‘n toss techniques, you can also control the mosquito population near and around your home by removing  debris, repairing missing or damaged window screens and unclogging drain gutters.

As of August 20, 2019, a total of 41 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2019. Overall, 206 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC. Of these, 143 (69%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 63 (31%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.


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