A 44-year-old Fulton County woman was diagnosed with West Nile Virus, the first human case in the county this year.
The Fulton Health Board announced the diagnosis on Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, the district said the diagnosis was confirmed by a local hospital but did not provide more information about the case.
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West Nile is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause illness or death. Elmer Gray, a public health specialist at Georgia State University, said the virus could be particularly dangerous for people who are susceptible to it.
"Definitely a problem," he said. "People need to take precautions."
These precautions include wearing insect repellent, long sleeves at night and loose clothing in light colors during the day, he said. In a statement, the county recommended removing stagnant water in and around the home. Water that is collected in flower pots or in areas as small as a bottle cap can be a good place for mosquito breeding, the statement said.
"Stable water is not useful," Gray said. "Just be super diligent."
He said that the peak season for West Nile is from August 15 to September 15 and he expects that more people will be diagnosed in the coming days and weeks. The District Health Board said many people infected with the disease have no symptoms, but others experience mild or flu-like symptoms, including headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands or rash. A small number of infected people can develop serious illnesses such as meningitis or encephalitis.
"This can be disabling even for young, healthy people," Gray says.
Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus were detected in DeKalb County as well as in Fulton County. They are also found in Chatham County.
Only five counties in state virus test;
Last year, 34 people in Georgia were discovered to have the virus. A Danwood woman in the 1990s died of the disease.
Eli Jones, Fulton's deputy director of health, said earlier that the county had put chemicals in 8,700 water basins and on tops of water ponds to kill mosquito larvae before they matured. Earlier this summer, mosquitoes in Frankie Allen Park near Buckhead were tested positive for West Nile.
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