West Nile Virus has spiked across the USA this summer, take precautions.
One human case has been reported in Fulton County (14 in GA), and a country-wide total of over 1,100 cases of West Nile virus disease — including 41 deaths — have been reported to the CDC as of mid-August.
This is the highest number of cases reported through the end of July since 2004.
"It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years," said Marc Fischer, medical epidemiologist with CDC’s Arboviral Diseases Branch. "Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family."
Almost 80 percent of the cases have been reported from Texas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Forty-two states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes.
The best way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to avoid mosquito bites, CDC experts say.
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors.
- Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air conditioning, if you have it.
Mosquitoes need water to breed. Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by removing areas of standing water:
- 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 cleaned 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 a larvicide to eliminate mosquito larvae in areas with standing water and in containers that cannot be dumped.
For more information on WNV and prevention methods, call the Mosquito Hotline: 404-730-5296 or contact the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, Division of Environmental Health at (404) 613-1301. More information is also located on-line at http//:www.fultoncountygahealth.org.