A mosquito collection from a DeKalb County Board of Health’s sampling station which is located in Decatur has been reported as positive for West Nile virus (WNV).
While most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms or experience mild flu-like symptoms, the virus potentially can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness. The chance that any one person is going to become ill from a single mosquito bite is low. The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.
The easiest and best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. While the potential for WNV transmission exists throughout the metro area, this WNV positive collection does indicate a higher risk at this time in this area. Please remember to use the following precautions and remind your neighbors, friends and coworkers to do the same.
• Apply insect repellent. DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective repellents recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, please see: http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html.
• 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 from dusk to dawn.
The DeKalb County Board of Health is aggressively working to prevent West Nile virus transmission. Program technicians will be in the area providing additional mosquito control services including applying larvicide and investigating for mosquito breeding sites. This will keep mosquito larvae from developing into flying biting insects.
Along with the larvicide treatment, it is important to eliminate any containers and other removable breeding sites which may hold water for five or more days. Some items such as bird baths can be dumped and rinsed twice a week, but do need continual attention. Also, gutters should be cleaned and checked to make sure they drain properly.
For more information about West Nile virus, refer to the following web sites:
Contact the Division of Environmental Health (404-508-7900) with any questions or concerns on this matter.