West Nile case is state’s first this year

Print Friendly and PDF By: Andy Miller Published: Jul 8, 2013

A southeast Georgia resident is the first human case of West Nile virus confirmed in the state this year.

The Department of Public Health said Monday that the adult Brantley County patient was infected in May and recovered without complications and without having to be hospitalized.

Nationally, the CDC has reported 10 cases of West Nile virus this year, with one death, as of July 2.

It’s a virus most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes.

Last year, the number of West Nile virus disease cases reported nationally was the highest since 2003, and the number of deaths was the highest since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999.

Georgia had a reported 99 cases of West Nile virus last year, with six deaths, according to the CDC.

Symptoms of the disease include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash, and the symptoms usually develop three to 15 days after the person is bitten, Public Health officials said.

Most people infected with the virus will develop no symptoms, the CDC says. But one in 150 people bitten by infected mosquitoes will develop encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, or meningitis, an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. About 10 percent of people with a severe form of infection die from their illness, and others suffer long-term nervous system problems, state officials said.

Public Health officials, citing this early case of West Nile virus and recent heavy rains in the state, urged Georgians to protect themselves against mosquitoes.

“Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile virus,” said Rosmarie Kelly, a Public Health entomologist. “In the heat of summer, it can take less than 10 days to go from egg to adult mosquito.”

 

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