Two Ge­or­gians in­fected with West Nile virus

No names given

The Covington News - - HEALTH & WELLNESS -

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.

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