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Cowetans encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites



  Cowetans encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites

Photo by James Gathany, CDC

Coweta residents are urged to be bitten by mosquitoes to make sure they do not contract the West Nile virus.

In District 4 Public Health, which includes Coweta County, there have been no human cases of West Nile virus this year.

With two positive cases last year, Cowetans and others in D4PH are being asked to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

"Humans can reduce the number of mosquitoes around their homes and yards by getting rid of stagnant water," said Duane Fields, D4PH Director of Environmental Health. "Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that are known to carry West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases."

Humans should dump and throw water out of all containers that can collect water ̵

1; flowerpots, buckets, pool covers, pet bowls, discarded hoops and bird baths – anything that contains water and gives mosquitoes a place to thrive. Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus look for stagnant water to reproduce, so residents should be sure that the gutters and eaves are free of leaves and debris.

The most effective protection against WNV infection and all mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika, is preventing mosquito bites. Felder encourages watching the "Five Prevention" outdoor activities:

• Dawn / Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying WNV usually bite at dawn and dawn. Avoid or limit outdoor activities at these times.

• Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.

• DEET – Cover the exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective remedy for mosquito bites.

• Drain – Empty any containers that contain stagnant water because they are excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit viruses.

• Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good condition and secure. Repair torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck pain, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and rash. The symptoms usually develop three to 15 days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito.

Older people, those with weakened immune systems, or those with other underlying illnesses are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

Anyone with questions about WNV or Zika should speak with their health care provider or contact the district health authorities.

Proactive efforts are being made to identify geographic areas where mosquitoes could carry West Nile virus. In District 4, a vector surveillance coordinator and environmental health specialists from County County catch gullets to identify the species.

Mosquito monitoring is a valuable tool for determining changes in the geographical distribution and frequency of mosquito species. The most important mosquitoes for public health in Georgia are Culex quinquefasciatus, the mosquito of the southern house, and Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito.

The Southern House mosquito is the primary vector for WNV, while the Asian tiger mosquito is a well-known vector of Zika and also carries WNV.

District 4 Public Health serves people in Coweta, Butts, Carroll, Fayette, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spalding, Troup and Upson counties.


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