DeKalb woman tests positive for West Nile virus; 7th case in Georgia

The county had two cases of West Nile virus last year, with one of them being fatal.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — An east Atlanta woman was confirmed as the first person in DeKalb County to contract the West Nile virus this year, bringing Georgia’s number of cases to seven, authorities said.

The woman, who is in her 50s, has recovered from the mosquito-transmitted disease that can cause illness or death, the DeKalb County Board of Health said in a news release Friday. The county had two cases of West Nile virus last year, with one of them being fatal.

The Georgia Department of Public Health had confirmed six cases of the virus in Georgia independent of the DeKalb case, so this will likely be the seventh confirmed diagnosis, DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said.

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Most people infected with West Nile do not have symptoms, but some develop a bad fever and others can develop a severe illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In late August, a woman in Fulton County became that county’s first confirmed case, previously reported.

Both counties recommend wearing insect repellent, long sleeves at night and loose, light-colored clothing during the day as precautions to lessen the likelihood of attracting mosquitoes. It’s also recommended to eliminate standing water in and around your home, since stagnant water in flower pots or other areas make for good mosquito breeding grounds.

In DeKalb, technicians “routinely trap mosquitoes throughout the county, which are tested for viruses” as a preventive measure, the county’s news release said.

Only five counties in the state test for the virus: Chatham, DeKalb, Fulton, Glynn and Lowndes. Last year, 34 people in Georgia were found to have the virus.