East Central Health of Georgia

East Central Health District

Two Birds Tested Positive For West Nile In South Richmond County

Two birds were discovered dead at separate residences of South Richmond County. The birds were collected by environmental officials from the Richmond County Health Department’s Environmental Section and sent to Georgia State Public Laboratory in Atlanta for testing. State officials notified the Environmental Section that the birds tested positive for the West Nile virus (WNV). Public health officials will report those findings to the residents.

The main route of human infection with West Nile virus is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which may circulate the virus in their blood for a few days. The virus eventually gets into the mosquito’s salivary glands. The virus may be injected into humans and animals, where it can multiply and possibly cause illness.

Infection with WNV can be asymptomatic (no symptoms), or lead to West Nile fever or severe West Nile disease. It is estimated that about 20% of people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever.

Milder symptoms include:

– Fever
– Headache
– Tiredness
– Body Aches
– Occasional Skin Rash
– Swollen Lymph glands

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of the disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over 50 and some with weak immune systems are at highest risk for getting severely ill from WNV.

Severe symptoms include:

– Headache
– High Grade fever
– Neck Stiffness
– Coma
– Tremors
– Convulsions
– Muscle weakness
– Paralysis

Most people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop any type of illness, however you cannot know ahead of time if you’ll get sick or not when infected. If you develop a high fever with severe headache, consult your health care provider

“The best way to lessen the impact of WNV is to control the mosquito population by preventing breeding or eliminating them before they become adults”, explains Randy Wishard, Environmental Specialist for the Richmond County Health Department.

Because the mosquitoes that transmit disease typically like to breed in human-made containers, many places around your home may be causing mosquito problems.

Here are some tips for reducing the mosquito population:

– Properly throw away or destroy old tires.
– Dispose of tin cans, jars, plant pots, and any other containers that can hold water.
– Make sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters.
– Store wheelbarrows, tubs, buckets, and barrels.

In addition, you can reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes if you:

– Reduce you time spent outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.
– Wear long pants, long sleeves, shoes, and socks when outdoors and mosquitoes are most active.
– Consider using mosquito repellent that contains DEET on exposed skin
– For children use products that contain 10% or less DEET, adults no more than 30%.
– Replace damaged screens

Currently, there are no human WNV cases to report in Richmond County this mosquito season, which typically starts the latter part of spring to the beginning of fall.

For additional information, please refer to this web site:
www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/transmission.htm

Emmitt L.Walker
Public Relations Information Coordinator
706-729-2194


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