West Nile Virus Found in Houston County

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – While you’re at cookouts this summer, it’s important to wear bug spray.

Mosquitoes in Houston County tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

Michael Hokanson from the North Central Health District, had a few tips to keep you virus free this summer.

“One of the easiest things is to go around your yard and get rid of any standing water,” Hokanson said. “That’s anything that might accrue after rains, anything like old tires, kids’ toys, buckets, pool toys, even potted plants, even something as small as just a bottle cap, they can lay eggs in.”

Wearing bug spray with DEET also protects you from getting bit.

“Now I know Georgia is hot in the summer, but if you wear long sleeve shirts, long pants loose fitting,  that’s one good way to protect against mosquitoes is to cover that skin,” he said. “Any skin that you don’t cover, you want to use insect repellent that contains deet, because mosquitoes don’t like that.”

There is no cure for the virus but if you are bitten, symptoms include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash.

“Symptoms however can be treated with over the counter medication, aspirin, fever reducer, things like that, anything that you can pick up from a pharmacy you can use to treat those less severe symptoms,” Hokanson said.

Only 20% of people that get the virus show symptoms, so Hokanson said the health district is doing their best to contain the virus.

The North Central Health District said residents should practice the D’s of Prevention:

Dusk/Day/Dawn – Mosquitoes with the potential to spread West Nile Virus are usually active at dusk and dawn, so limit or avoid outdoor activities during these hours.
Dress – Loose-fitting clothes, long-sleeved shirts and long pants reduce the amount of exposed skin and reduce the chances of mosquito bites.
DEET – If you wear clothes that exposes skin, make sure to cover that skin with an insect repellant containing DEET to keep mosquitoes away.
Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good condition and fit tightly. Repair any damaged or torn screens as soon as possible.