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West Nile case appears in Dougherty County

The first case of West Nile Virus this year has appeared in Dougherty County. / Photo: Frank Hadley Collins / CDC / MGN Online

The first case of West Nile Virus this year has appeared in Dougherty County.

As a result, Southwest Health District is warning area residents that they should have their guard up against mosquitoes that carry the disease.

“With recent rains, we have seen plenty of mosquito activity,” said Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Charles Ruis. “More mosquito activity increases the chances for mosquito bites. The best protection against West Nile virus – and other mosquito-borne illnesses including Zika – is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.”

Eighty percent of the people infected with West Nile Virus have no symptoms. “It has no effect on them,” Ruis said. “About 20 percent of people infected experience headache, fever, fatigue, joint pain and general weakness, and recover completely within a few days,” he said. “But about one percent of those infected get seriously ill, with high fever, muscle weakness, paralysis and sometimes death.”

Public health officials say that two other cases have been reported in the state so far this year, with the state typically seeing between six and ten cases each year.

This is the first West Nile case in the Southwestern Health District since 2012.

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