Mosquito-Borne Virus Activity Now Widespread in Chatham County

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: • Dusk/Dawn – Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn during the summer when mosquitoes are most active. • Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin. • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites. • Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water – buckets, barrels, flowerpots, tarps – because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes. • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly. Fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

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