Chatham County Mosquitoes Test Positive For West Nile

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West Nile Virus

A pool of mosquitoes in Chatham County have tested positive for West Nile Virus, and the Chatham County Health Department and Chatham County Mosquito Control remind everyone to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a potentially serious illness usually spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Most people who become infected by West Nile Virus will have no symptoms at all, but some will develop serious symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, and paralysis. Milder cases of West Nile Virus often improve without medical treatment, but people with more severe cases usually need to go to the hospital for intravenous fluids, help with breathing, and nursing care.

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This is the first evidence of West Nile Virus activity in Chatham County mosquitoes since 2004. No humans, birds or other animals have tested positive for West Nile Virus this year in Chatham County. Nationwide, there have been 122 human cases in 19 states this year, with 3 deaths.

The mosquito infection was detected in the Garden City area through the Chatham County Mosquito Control's surveillance program. "We routinely collect mosquitoes throughout the county and test them for infection," says Dr. Henry Lewandowski, Director of Chatham County Mosquito Control. "With this evidence of West Nile Virus activity, we will step up our spraying efforts, focusing on the mosquito species that carries this disease."

"Mosquito control is doing their part, but we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and our communities too," says Robert Thornton, Epidemiologist with the Coastal Health District. "Using mosquito repellant and eliminating any standing water in your yard will help reduce your risk of getting bitten and possibly infected."

The Health Department asks everyone to follow the 5 "Ds" of prevention:

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