The Georgia Division of Public Health has notified the Fulton County Department of Health Services that mosquito samples in Chastain Park and Whittier Mills Park have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. A mosquito “sample” refers to a collection of mosquitoes from a particular area that is tested for the virus.
“August begins the peak season for West Nile Virus,” said Patrice A. Harris, Director of Fulton County Health Services. “The identification of these samples is a reminder to all of us to take precautions when outdoors.”
To reduce exposure to mosquitoes and to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus, Fulton County Health Services encourages residents to follow the 5 D’s of Protection:
Dusk/Dawn: Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus usually bite at dusk and dawn. Limit outdoor activity during those hours.
Dress: Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
DEET: Cover exposed skin and clothes with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET. It is the most effective repellant against mosquito bites.
Drain: Empty any containers (buckets, barrels, kiddie pools) holding standing water to prevent breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Doors: Make sure doors, windows and screens are in good condition and fit tightly to keep out mosquitoes.
WNV usually infects birds, but it can spread to humans by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds and then bite humans. Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes do not get sick. Less than one percent of people infected with WNV develop a serious illness such as encephalitis. People who have chronic medical conditions are at greater risk of developing severe illness if infected with WNV.
For more information on West Nile Virus and prevention methods, visit fultoncountygahealth.org.