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      Stop the bite to stop the spread

      It's no secret Southwest Georgia saw a lot of rain this past summer, but does that mean a higher rate of mosquitoes and spread of the West Nile virus?Officials with the Southwest Georgia Public Health District says, no. Experts say in order for mosquitoes to produce they need still water and not water that is constantly moving, hence the constant rain, the constant movement of water.They say this year the number of West Nile cases has been really low compared to last year. Officials say in 2012, the state of Georgia had 100 cases of the virus and this year only six confirmed cases have been reported.They add that there has been one case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis reported this year in Southwest Georgia but it was in Lee County and it was a horse that contracted the virus. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is another illness carried by mosquitoes in our area.Officials say even though the numbers are low you should still be fully aware of the potential dangers.Epidemiologist Jacqueline Jenkins with the Southwest Georgia Public Health District says, "limit the amount of time you spend outside at dawn and dusk or other times mosquitoes are active. Wear long sleeves shirts and long pants, and always use repellents." Jenkins adds that if usually takes two to 15 days for symptoms to appear after exposure to the infection. She says symptoms include fever, headache, eye pain, muscle aches, a rash, and swollen lymph nodes. Jenkins adds that the virus can not be spread from one person to another.

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