Local Public Health Officials Urge Fulton County Residents to Protect Themselves and Their Families
Fulton County Board of Health officials are urging County residents to take measures to protect themselves and their families from West Nile virus (WNV) after a local hospital verified a 44-year-old woman living in the county has tested positive for the virus. This is Fulton County’s first human case of WNV this year.
WNV is a potentially serious mosquito-transmitted disease that can cause illness or death. Though most people who are infected with the disease do not have symptoms, others may experience mild or flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, and rash. A small number of people infected may develop serious illnesses, such as meningitis (swelling of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) or encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
“This unfortunate incident reinforces the need for all of us to remain vigilant in practicing prevention techniques to control mosquito breeding,” said S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., Interim District Health Director, Fulton County Board of Health said. “Practicing prevention techniques that control mosquito breeding, coupled with applying personal protection techniques, has proven effective in combating West Nile virus.”
Eliminating standing water in and around your home is the most effective way to prevent mosquito breeding. According to public health officials, a significant amount of water is not necessary for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. In fact, a mosquito can lay dozens of eggs in a water-filled bottle cap. Tossing out any amount of water can make a huge difference in reducing the number of mosquitoes around your home.
The Board of Health recommends that applying tip ‘n toss techniques by turning over flower pots, covering wading pools and throwing out water stored in buckets, pet bowls and other containers after every rainfall. Taking these actions at least once a week can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home. In addition to applying tip ‘n toss techniques, you can also control the mosquito population near and around your home by removing debris, repairing missing or damaged window screens and unclogging drain gutters.
To protect yourself from mosquitoes when outside, health officials recommend wearing clothing that protects your arms, legs and neck. Residents should also use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—registered insect repellent as well to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.