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Brantley resident tests positive for West Nile

SPECIAL TO SEGAZINE

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A Brantley County resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), according to officials with the Southeast Health District (SEHD). This is the first positive case of WNV in Georgia and 10th in the US, according to Georgia Department of Public Health and CDC reports. The resident was infected in May and recovered without hospitalization or complications, according to SEHD officials.

Residents are strongly urged to take precautions to protect against mosquito bites and the possible spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as WNV. People get WNV when they are bitten by a mosquito that is carrying it. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.

Around 80 percent of those infected with the virus show no symptoms; while up to 20 percent have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a rash. There is no specific treatment for WNV. People with severe cases are hospitalized and receive supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and respiratory treatment.

SEHD officials encourage residents to familiarize themselves with protective measures now. The best way to prevent WNV infection is to take personal protection measures to reduce mosquito bites. Public Health officials recommend the 5 D’s:

Dusk/Dawn: Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus usually bite at dusk and dawn. Limit outdoor activity during those hours.

Dress: Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.

DEET: Cover exposed skin and clothes with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET. It is the most effective repellant against mosquito bites.

Drain: Empty any containers (buckets, barrels, kiddie pools) holding standing water to prevent breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Doors: Make sure doors, windows and screens are in good condition and fit tightly to keep out mosquitoes.

Health officials say they’ve confirmed this year’s first human case of West Nile virus in Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says the case was confirmed Monday. Officials say the adult patient from Brantley County recovered without hospitalization after being infected in May.

Most West Nile virus infections occur after the person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Health officials are urging Georgians to take precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. They usually appear three to 15 days after the mosquito bite.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia had 99 cases of West Nile virus last year, including six that were fatal.

For more information about these protective measures or mosquito-borne illnesses, contact your local health department or visit www.sehdph. org.

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