Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus found in metro neighborhoods

Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus found in metro neighborhoods

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have been detected in more than half-dozen metro Atlanta neighborhoods.

The mosquitoes were most recently detected in Brookhaven. They have also been found in Chamblee, Clarkston, Tucker, Decatur, Stone Mountain and Atlanta.

DeKalb County officials said they are working to spread the word to residents in the affected areas.

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Mosquito catchers use traps and vacuums to round up mosquitoes and test them for the deadly virus.

The DeKalb County Health Department has collected mosquitoes from 25 different locations across the county, from June to October.

Entomologist John Harvoth sorts the mosquitoes by species and gender before they are sent to a lab at UGA to be tested for any virus.

“We put them in a refrigerator to knock them down so they don’t fly away,” he said.

If virus-carrying mosquitoes are found, neighborhoods nearby are notified and workers put larvacide in storm drains to curb population growth.

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“We will make sure to place the larvacide, and we will look for other places where the mosquitoes might be breeding. Sometimes (we’ll) go door-to-door,” said Juanette Willis, with the DeKalb County Board of Health.

Health officials remind residents to empty standing water.

So far this year, there have been no reports of West Nile infection in people in DeKalb County.

“For some populations, it can be very, very serious. It can lead to death, Encephalitis. It can be very serious for a small percentage,” Willis said.

Common symptoms of the virus include fever, headache and body aches, which can get progressively worse.

Several DeKalb County residents have been infected by the West Nile virus over the years. %

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