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First Human Case of West Nile Virus, this year | Families

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First Human Case of West Nile Virus, this year
Families, Health, People

Via Fulton County Health Services:

Fulton Health Services Reports First Human Case

of West Nile Virus

Department of Health and Wellness Urges Residents to Use Prevention Measures

The Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness has confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) for the 2010 season. 

The lab confirmed case involved a 67 year old female residing in Midtown.  The woman, who suffers from underlying health conditions, was hospitalized and has since recovered.  Residents are urged to take precautions when outside and to clear areas of standing water, which is where mosquitoes breed.

“We are in the season for increased mosquito activity,” says Patrice A. Harris, MD, Director of Fulton Health Services.  “This increase unfortunately translates into the probability of a human case.” 

To date, the Division of Environmental Health Services (EHS) has identified 45 mosquito pools that have tested positive for WNV.  EHS has increased its control efforts to limit the growth of mosquito pools.  Residents who live within a ½-mile radius of these areas should continue practicing prevention methods.

Positive mosquito pools have been identified in the following areas:

  • North Avenue Combined Sewer Overflow (1139 North Avenue, Atlanta)
  • Mounted Police (1001 Cherokee Avenue, Atlanta)
  • Springvale Park  (950 Edgewood Avenue, Atlanta)
  • Roswell Area Park  (10495 Woodstock Road, Roswell
  • Wills Park (11925 Wills Road, Alpharetta)
  • Adamsville Health Center (3699 Bakers Ferry Road, Atlanta)
  • Sandtown Park (5320 Campbellton Road, Atlanta)
  • Tanyard Creek Combined Sewer Overflow (455 Collier Road, Atlanta)

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash.  WNV can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and lining of the brain).  People with compromised immune systems or other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.  Physicians are reminded to contact the health department if they suspect or diagnose a case of WNV.

Dr. Harris adds, “During this time of year, transmission of this potentially serious illness from mosquitoes to humans is at its peak.  West Nile Virus is serious but preventable if we take action to reduce our exposure to mosquito bites.” 

Mosquitoes need water to breed. They can breed in any puddle or standing water that remains more than four days.  By removing areas of standing water, you will eliminate breeding grounds and reduce the number of mosquitoes:

  • Dispose of old tires. Regularly empty any metal cans, ceramic flowerpots, bottles, jars, buckets, and other water-holding containers on your property. 
  • Turn over plastic wading pools, outdoor toys and wheelbarrows when not in use.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets. 
  • Keep gutters cleared and sloped to the downspout.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left outdoors.
  • Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated. Remove standing water from pool covers.
  • Make sure windows and screens are in good condition.
  • Purchase and use Mosquito Dunks (a larvicide used to kill mosquito larvae) to control mosquitoes in areas with standing water and in containers that cannot be dumped.

Mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus bite during the evening, night and early morning.  Take precautions to protect yourself and your family during these periods. 

  • Use insect repellent containing the active ingredient N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET). Spray the top of your clothing and exposed skin. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label. 
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk.

For more information on West Nile Virus and prevention methods, call the Mosquito Hotline 404-730-5296 or contact the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, Division of Environmental Health Services, at (404) 730-1301. Visit www.fultoncountygahealth.org.

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