A metro Atlanta county is confirming the West Nile virus in samples of mosquitos recently tested.
According to the DeKalb County Board of Health, 17 of 51 collections of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus. The positive mosquitoes were taken from eight different trap locations.
Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been no confirmed amd reported cases of West Nile virus in Gwinnett County.
Still, the DeKalb County results may indicate that this will be a busy season, and that it is important to take preventive measures now.
West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes and can cause serious, life-altering and even fatal disease. Although people over age 50 have the highest risk for serious illness when infected with the virus, individuals of all ages can become ill.
Some people develop a less severe illness called West Nile fever. This mild illness usually goes away and does not require medical treatment. Fortunately, most people who are infected with the virus do not have any ill effects.
Last year, 712 human cases were confirmed nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fewer than five cases were confirmed in DeKalb County, and in Gwinnett County there were none listed on the CDC website, though mosquito samples were sent for testing.
“I am encouraging residents to educate themselves about West Nile virus prevention and to take precautions to protect themselves,” said S. Elizabeth Ford, district health director of the DeKalb County Board of Health. “The most effective actions against the virus are to wear mosquito repellent and to reduce standing water where mosquitoes breed.”
(Editor's Note: This information was taken, in part, from a press release by the DeKalb County Board of Health.)