West Nile virus (WNV) has been found in a dead bird that was collected from Hall County. This is the first bird that has tested positive for WNV in Hall County this summer.
It is expected that the West Nile virus activity will continue to increase throughout the summer until early fall. The mosquito that transmits WNV usually reaches its peak in population during the first to second week of September.
Throughout the state there have been 29 human cases, 14 blood donors, 123 mosquito pools and two horses that have tested positive for WNV in 2013.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. In turn, mosquitoes pass the virus to humans.
Nathan Eckhout, Environmental Health Specialist, states” Even though summer is winding down mosquitoes are still active and citizens are urged to take precautions when outside”.
To reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:
- Avoid being outdoors during times that mosquitoes are most active (dusk and dawn).
-While outdoors, cover up by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, shoes and socks.
-Eliminate mosquito breeding sites, such as standing water in tires, plastic containers, or similar water holding containers.
-Applying mosquito repellent containing DEET.
Most people who are infected with WNV have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Less than one out of 150 people who get bitten by an infected mosquito and become infected will get seriously ill. However, people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences. West Nile fever includes flu-like symptoms, such as fever and muscle weakness. Symptoms of West Nile encephalitis include inflammation of the brain, disorientation, convulsions and paralysis.