A trap in southwest Atlanta captured mosquitos that tested positive for the West Nile virus, health officials announced Tuesday.
The Fulton County Board of Health reported that a pool of mosquitos from a trap near the Beltline around Herman J. Russell West End Academy (formerly Brown Middle School) tested positive last week.
Most people infected with this virus don’t feel sick, with about one out of every five people infected developing a fever or other symptoms and about one in every 150 infected people developing a serious —sometimes fatal — illness, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fulton health department staff set out traps from July to October every year to test mosquito larvae to see if they contain any diseases.
“Although a single mosquito pool found in southwest Atlanta tested positive, I encourage all residents to be vigilant in practicing personal protection and mosquito control methods,” said Galen Baxter, the district environmental health director for the Fulton health board.
Baxter said his office will respond by using federally approved chemical mosquito deterrents. Workers do so by spraying chemicals from a truck at night, he said.
The recent uptick in rain, Baxter said, has caused more mosquitos. Public health officials say a mosquito can lay dozens of eggs in a bottle cap filled with water. That’s why officials recommend that residents turn over flowerpots, cover wading pools or toss water stored outside once a week.
Ben Brasch is the reporter tasked with keeping Fulton County government accountable. The Florida native moved to Atlanta for a job with The AJC. If there's something important to you going on in Fulton, he wants to know about it. Help him better metro Atlanta by dropping a line, anonymously or otherwise.