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Mosquito tests positive for West Nile virus | Health

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Mosquito tests positive for West Nile virus
Mosquito tests positive for West Nile virus

DECATUR, Ga. -- DeKalb County's West Nile virus season has arrived two weeks earlier than expected.

According to the DeKalb County Board of Health, a routine collection of mosquitoes has tested positive for the virus.

The early test result may indicate that this will be a busy season, so it is especially important to know how to avoid getting the virus.

"I am encouraging residents to educate themselves about West Nile virus prevention and to take precautions to protect themselves," said S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., district health director of the DeKalb County Board of Health. "The most effective actions against the virus are to wear mosquito repellent and to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed."

West Nile virus is spread by infected mosquitoes and can cause serious, life-threatening and even fatal diseases.

Although infected people over age 50 have the highest risk for serious illness, individuals of all ages can become ill. Some develop a less severe illness called West Nile fever, which usually goes away and does not require medical treatment.

Fortunately, most people who are infected with the virus do not have any ill effects.

The DeKalb County Board of Health's Division of Environmental Health monitors for West Nile virus through mosquito sampling. Since the virus can kill birds, they also analyze reports of dead birds.

In addition, the division works with residents to reduce mosquito populations.

For more information or to report a dead bird, call the Board of Health at 404-508-7900.

Some tips to reduce mosquito breeding:

* Dump standing water from plant pots, toys, pool and hot tub covers, wheelbarrows, boats and canoes

* When not in use, store wading pools and other items in places where they will not collect water

* Clean gutters and downspouts so they drain properly

* Dispose of old tires, cans and other containers that may collect water

* Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes every three or four days

* Keep drains and ditches clean of trash and weeds so water will drain properly

* Trim tall grass, weeds and vines since mosquitoes rest in these during the hot daylight hours