West Nile virus found in Avondale Estates lake

DeKalb County has found the West Nile virus in mosquitoes in Avondale Estates, according to the county board of health.

The sample containing the virus came from Lake Avondale. Health officials cautioned while most people infected with the virus never get sick or develop symptoms similar to a mild flu, the virus can cause a fatal illness.

“While the potential for WNV transmission exists throughout the metro area, this WNV positive collection does indicate a higher risk at this time in” the Avondale Estates area, the health board said in a news release.

People over the age of 50 are most at risk of a serious illness from the virus, but contacting the disease normally takes multiple bites from infected mosquitoes, the health board said.

Georgia is currently in the peak of West Nile season,which normally hits between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15, according to Elmer Gray, a University of Georgia Extension mosquito specialist.

On Aug. 7, the Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the state’s first human case of West Nile virus of the 2015 season, which began in June. The patient recovered, according to the state 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.

Tips to avoid the virus include:

  • Apply insect repellent. DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective repellents recommended by the CDC. For more information, see the CDC website.
  • When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks. Clothing may also be treated with permethrin.
  • Use extra care when mosquitoes are most active, particularly at dusk and dawn.
  • 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.

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