Leaders working to prevent additional cases of West Nile virus

By: Katie Walls

Updated:

DeKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Leaders in DeKalb County are working to prevent additional infections after the city of Brookhaven on Wednesday reported its first human case of West Nile virus infection in 2017.  

There have been two cases in Georgia this year and one involves a 72-year-old man. 

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Katie Walls spoke to the city and to the county Board of Health on Thursday.

Officials told Walls that they are seeing an uptick in mosquitoes and they’re blaming the weather.

Periods of heavy rain followed by heat are paradise to mosquitoes.

Puddles are a problem, because they are a breeding ground for the mosquitoes.

An expert with the DeKalb County Board of Health told Walls that we had so much rainfall in June, containers with mosquito larvae in them were overflowing, sending larvae onto the ground and ultimately keeping the population in check. 

Now that we're getting some drier stretches, however, that's starting to change. 

"We're definitely starting to see more mosquitoes," an official told Walls. 

More mosquitoes mean more opportunity for disease, which is an outcome the DeKalb County Board of Health and the city of Brookhaven are working to prevent. 

Brookhaven officials said they are working with the Board of Health to identify areas that may not have been treated yet and may be doubling their efforts in areas that could be treated again. 


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"This included treating Brookhaven's 12 parks and any standing water with larvicide," an official said.

The city told Walls that it is cross-checking its maps with those of the Board of Health to make sure every storm drain, water retention area and mud puddle are treated with larvicide. 

"We use larvicide called Altocil," an official told Walls. "It interrupts the life cycle of the mosquito." 

The human-friendly insecticide prevents the larvae from ever becoming biting mosquitos capable of spreading West Nile virus. 

"Since 2001, we've had 35 cases. We are very aggressive and try not to have cases," an official told Walls.

ArboVirus program coordinator for the DeKalb County Board of Health, Jaunette Willis, told Walls, "if you have mosquitoes in your yard, they likely bred in your yard."

Jaunette advises those with mosquitoes to dump out any containers, small and large, with standing water. 

When you're out and about, prevent bites with a bug spray containing DEET. 

"In the case of West Nile virus, we see cases in July and August primarily, September, and sometimes in October and November," an official told Walls. 

Remember, a little bottle cap full of water can breed several hundred mosquitos in one season. 

 

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