Chatham County Mosquito Control has confirmed that samples of mosquitoes collected in multiple locations across Chatham County have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).
“These additional positive mosquito samples are not unexpected,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, Health Director of the Coastal Health District. “Last week, Mosquito Control confirmed West Nile virus in a pool of mosquitoes in midtown Savannah. Once the virus is present in our local mosquito population, we know it’s just a matter of time before the activity becomes more widespread.”
Mosquito Control will continue treating all areas of Chatham County for mosquitoes, and residents are encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites. West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause mild to serious illness. No human cases of WNV have been confirmed in any Coastal Health District counties this year.
About 80% of the people who get WNV never develop symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. A very small number of people who become sick can develop swelling of the brain or tissue around the spinal cord, which can be deadly.
Residents are always encouraged to follow the 5Ds of mosquito bite prevention:
Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. If you can, avoid going outside at dusk and dawn to reduce your chance of being bitten.
Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin. If the mosquitoes can’t get to your skin, they can’t bite you.
Any skin that is exposed should be covered with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label regarding how to apply and how often to reapply.
Mosquitoes need standing water for breeding, so be sure to empty any containers holding stagnant water, such as buckets, barrels, flowerpots, and tarps. Be especially mindful after a rain, and toss any standing water to discourage mosquito breeding around your home.
Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly. If you have screens on your windows and doors, be sure to fix any rips or tears so mosquitoes can’t get through the screens and into your home.