The DeKalb Board of Health said Sept. 10 that both are recovering at home.
The board also said that a routine screening found West Nile virus in the blood of a 25-year-old man who also lives in central DeKalb County. He has not had symptoms.
“He was identified through a routine screening of blood he had donated,” the Board of Health said in a statement. “His donation did not get into the blood supply.”
Only 20 percent of people who become infected with West Nile virus have any symptoms at all.
DeKalb District Health Director Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford said it is very unfortunate that any of our DeKalb residents have developed a West Nile virus infection.
“I hope this reminds everyone to continue using precautions to avoid mosquito bites, since mosquitoes can carry the virus,” Ford said Monday.
Mild symptoms of an infection are fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a rash on the chest, stomach and back. These can last from a few days to several weeks.
The DeKalb cases come in the wake of three fatalities from the virus and 21 confirmed cases statewide.
Mosquitoes from 54 West Nile virus monitoring sites in metro Atlanta and 20 in coastal and South Georgia have tested positive for the virus that can lead to brain or spinal cord swelling and death. The Georgia Department of Public Health has deemed these areas at high risk for West Nile virus transmission.
Confirmed cases have also been reported in Cobb, Forsyth and Fulton counties.
Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal, director of health protection for the Department of Public Health, said West Nile virus is a growing concern.
“The problem of mosquitoes and West Nile Virus appears to be escalating in Georgia and across the country,” O’Neal said in an Aug. 24 statement. “More West Nile virus cases have been confirmed by the third week in August than at any time in the last 10 years.”
Confirmed cases are in the following counties: Bartow, one; Cobb, three; Columbia, one; Dougherty, seven – including two deaths; Fulton, one; Forsyth, one; Early, one – including one death; Lee, one; Mitchell, one; Muscogee, two; Richmond, one; and Worth, one.
Symptoms include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.
Of those who become infected, most will fight off the virus without any symptoms or will develop less severe West Nile fever. But about one in 150 people bitten by infected mosquitoes will develop encephalitis or inflammation of the brain, or meningitis which is 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 from long-term nervous system problems.
People with questions about West Nile virus should speak to their health care providers or call their local county health department or environmental health office.
O’Neal urges residents to prevent water from standing in containers – where mosquitoes thrive – and to observe the “Five D’s of WNV Prevention”:
Dusk – Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus usually bite at dusk and dawn.
Dawn – Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn if possible. If you must be outside, be sure to protect yourself from bites.
Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
Drain – Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
The Board of Health offers the following tips to protect yourself and familiy”
- Reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk, when the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus are most active.
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. Apply according to label instructions.
- Spray clothing with products containing permethrin according to label instructions.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk and in areas with lots of mosquitoes.
- Eliminate standing water on your property. Dump the water weekly from outdoor containers like planters, toys, wheelbarrows, recycling bins and tires. Keep gutters clear.
- Trim tall grass, weeds and vines.
nMake sure window and door screens fit tightly.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm and www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm.
The Department of Public Health’s surveillance data on the West Nile virus is available on O.A.S.I.S. at http://oasis.state.ga.us.