Two Georgians infected with West Nile virus
No names given
ATLANTA — Two cases of humans in Georgia being infected with the West Nile virus have been confirmed, state health officials said.
A 52- year- old Johnson County resident and a 57year- old Gwinnett County resident have been diagnosed with the disease. Their names were not released.
Georgia, along with the rest of the country, is on pace to have its worse West Nile virus season in years.
At the same time, federal money the state used to test for mosquitoes carrying the disease has been cut in half this year, said Rosmarie Kelly, a state public health entomologist.
“ It’s likely that we will have a much worse year than” in recent years, Kelly said. “And we really have less of an ability to respond to it.”
The reduced funding has led to less testing in Georgia for the virus than in past years, Kelly said. Before, officials tested all year but are now limiting testing to the peak season of July through October.
West Nile virus was first reported in the United States in 1999 in New York, then spread across the country. Only about one in five infected people get sick. Severe symptoms including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.
Mosquitoes transmit the virus, often picking it up from birds they bite and then spreading it to people.
Health officials warn the public to use mosquito repellent, install and repair screens and eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding areas.