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      West Nile Virus found in Dougherty County

      Preventing mosquitoes from breeding in areas around your home is a key to avoiding West Nile Virus infection.

      A 64-year-old man is recovering in the hospital from the first reported case of West Nile Virus in Southwest Health District in 2012. Although the disease is commonly found in mosquitoes, officials say this single incident is not to be taken lightly.

      "What we like to do when we have a positive case, is to get the word out about prevention. There is no vaccine, and particularly no kind of medical care for West Nile Virus illness. But what we can do is to prevent it, and to do that we need to eliminate or control the mosquito breeding areas on our properties," said District Epidemiologist, Jacqueline Jenkins.

      With 712 human cases of West Nile Virus confirmed in the United States last year, the process of prevention begins at home, something exterminator heath bass says can eliminate the mass majority of mosquito issues.

      "The more you can reduce the breeding ground, the better off you are. It's not going to stop it 100%, but the better you can prevent it, the more you'll be on top of your game," said local exterminator, Heath Bass.

      West Nile Virus doesn't have extremely pronounced symptoms either, causing those with low immune systems and elderly members of the community to be at a higher risk.

      "Make sure that if you feel you've been outside a lot, and you've had a lot of mosquito bites, and you start feeling ill. Be sure to see your physician," said Jenkins.

      West Nile is known to peak in the month of august, and thrives in damp, warm conditions. For more information on the virus, and various prevention tactics, visit the health district website, at www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.com.