Mosquito samples from four Fulton County communities have tested positive for West Nile virus, health officials announced Wednesday.
The samples came from Grove Park, Midtown along the Beltline near the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark, Perkerson Park and Washington Park, according to a statement from the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness.
The county has sought aggressively to prevent West Nile, Health Services Director Dr. Patrice Harris said in the statement. Workers have been spraying larvicide, which prevents mosquito larvae from developing into adults, at mosquito breeding sites and catch basins. Workers are also urging residents in affected areas to get rid of any standing water around their homes.
Only one confirmed case of a person infected with West Nile has been reported statewide, in Coffee County, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. There were three cases at this time last year.
“Residents can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes by emptying standing water from containers — flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths — anything that holds water and gives mosquitoes a place to thrive,” said state epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek. “In the heat of summer, it can take less than 10 days to go from egg to adult mosquito.”
Most people bitten by mosquitoes infected with West Nile don’t get sick; those who do often suffer mild flulike symptoms and recover without treatment, according to the Fulton health department. People with chronic medical conditions are at greater risk. Less than 1 percent of infected individuals develop serious neurological illnesses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Five tips to prevent West Nile
- Mosquitoes carrying West Nile usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
- Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce exposed skin.
- Cover exposed skin with insect repellent.
- Empty any containers holding standing water, which are excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- 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.
Source: Georgia Department of Public Health