by: Diana Davis Updated:
ATLANTA - Fulton County is ramping up its fight against the West Nile virus. It has decided to start spraying to kill mosquitoes, something it normally does not do.
Up to this point health departments have mostly relied on dropping Larvacide pellets in storm drains, sewers and standing water to kill mosquito larvae.
They are adding in spraying to kill the adults.
The county has dozens of test sites with mosquito traps scattered across Fulton County.
In the last week or so, many of those traps have detected adult mosquitoes carrying the virus, capable of passing on the illness to humans.
Spraying will start this weekend at the Wolf Creek Amphitheater in south Fulton County and in the coming days at the Bobby Jones golf course, Grove Park, Springvale Park, Frankie Allen Park and Wills Park in Alpharetta.
"We have about 30 testing sites throughout the county and we saw that, that particular mosquito that keeps occurring again and again and it carries West Nile, so we decided, based on that, to change our strategy," said Kevin Jones of Fulton County Environmental Health.
Georgia now has 21 confirmed cases of the virus, with three deaths reported in south Georgia.
The season still has weeks to go. The good news is only about one in five people infected will develop symptoms.
"The most common symptoms would be fever, headaches. But people can also have much more serious symptoms including stiff neck and muscle weakness," Dr. Jesse Jacob of Emory Midtown Hospital told Channel 2's Diana Davis.
The spraying is considered safe for humans but deadly for mosquitoes, Jones told Davis.
"It's going to knock out adult mosquitoes (and) going to last about seven days," Jones said.
Despite the spaying, experts say it remains important for people to take precautions against mosquitoes.
They urge people to use repellant, wear long pants and sleeves, and dump any standing water in their yards.