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Older Adults Should Protect Themselves From Mosquito Bites

Armen Hareyan's picture

Of the 20 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Georgia this year, 15 have been over age 50, according to Georgia state health officials.

An 80-year-old Clayton County resident has died from complications associated with the West Nile Virus this month, according to the Clayton County Board of Health. Since adults age d 50 and older are more at risk of developing severe illnesses from mosquito-borne viruses such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and WNV, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services (DAS), and Division of Public Health (DPH) are giving tips to help Georgians protect themselves from mosquito bites this fall.

"West Nile Virus can lead to serious illness and be fatal if individuals, especially older adults, do not take precautions to safeguard their health," said Dr. Susan Lance, Epidemiologist with the Division of Public Health. "One human case is one too many for us and we want people to be aware of this virus and how they can protect themselves."

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"We want our older population and at-risk adults to take preventative measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes so they can live longer, safely and well," said Maria Greene, Director of the Division of Aging Services.

In Georgia, mosquitoes are more active in early fall and late spring. The most common mosquito-born viruses in Georgia are the Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile and LaCrosse viruses. There is no vaccine and no treatment to protect people from WNV infection, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection.