21 Confirmed Cases of West Nile in GA
While Cherokee has not had any cases of the virus, nearby Cobb has had three.
With the number of confirmed West Nile virus cases in Georgia at 21, state health officials today urged residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes that may carry the potentially fatal virus.
"The problem of mosquitoes and West Nile virus appears to be escalating in Georgia and across the country," said Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal, the Georgia Department of Public Health’s director of health protection. "More West Nile virus cases have been confirmed by the third week in August than at any time in the last 10 years."
Of the 21 confirmed cases, three have resulted in death. Dougherty County had two fatalities. The other occurred in Early County.
The Department of Public Health has classified metro Atlanta as a high risk area for West Nile transmission because 54 monitoring sites have tested positive for the virus, which can cause brain and spinal cord swelling or death.
O'Neal said people should follow these steps:
- If possible, avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn. Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus usually bite at those times of day.
- Cover up. Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
- Spray exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET. The chemical is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
- Empty anything holding standing water. Containers with standing water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes with the virus.