Winter's no match for West Nile

Donell Mathis with Dougherty County Public Works. / Jessica Fairley

Although winter is here, officials say southwest Georgians are not cleared from catching the West Nile Virus.

When southwest Georgia's fluctuating temperatures reach above 59 degrees mosquito eggs began to hatch.

Dougherty County Public Works inspectors say they're starting to see larvae inside water pools.

While the 2011-2012 West Nile season had no reported cases, so far 2012-2013 has been active with 20 people in southwest Georgia testing positive.

"In Dougherty County we had 11 and of those 11 we had nine hospitalizations," said Jackie Jenkins, Southwest Georgia Public Health Epidemiologist.

Two people died in Dougherty County as a result of the West Nile Virus and another passed away in Early County. All three were considered elderly.

Officials say elderly people are the most at risk for contracting the virus.

"We want people to be mindful that mosquitoes are active around this time of the year. So continue doing what you been doing as far as putting on repellant," said Donell Mathis, Dougherty County Public Works Director.

Other tips include wearing long sleeves, eliminating standing water around your home, and making sure your home is secured by intact screens.

Jackie Jenkins says while the West Nile Virus can be contracted during flu season, the symptoms aren't similar.

Stay connected to as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!