By: Nefertiti Jaquez
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. – County health officials are warning neighbors in DeKalb County and surrounding areas about mosquito-borne illnesses.
County health officials announced they now have a total of nine locations where West Nile traps have tested positive for the virus. That is one-third of the traps they have across the county.
Officials said that is a high number, but told Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez this time of year is typically when they start to see an uptick in numbers.
Peter Curnin said it’s hard leaving his home most days, because he’s usually swarmed by mosquitoes.
“It’s been brutal. It’s hard to go outside,” Curnin said. “I’ve been getting bit for the last couple of months. I even just got service to spray to prevent it, but they just keep swarming in.”
Curnin said he was stunned when Jaquez told him about the number of positive tests came back.
“To have it in your backyard, it’s surprising,” Curnin said.
DeKalb health officials say the West Nile traps usually test positive from July through November.
The traps are crucial because it helps them identify the areas where they need to focus when trying to help residents stay safe.
“In the areas that have tested positive, we have staff going door-to-door about what they’re seeing and what (residents) should be doing,” said Eric Nickens Jr. with the DeKalb County Board of Health.
Lynn Nedlin lives in Doraville, one of the communities where the traps tested positive for the virus.
“It is concerning because you really don’t know how to protect yourself,” Nedlin said. “You just have to be more vigilant and protect the ones that are most susceptible.”
Health officials said If you’re seeing mosquitoes around your home or backyard, that means there’s a probably a breeding site nearby and mosquitoes generally don’t travel far from those sites.
The county’s goal is to clear any standing water, because mosquitoes need the water to reproduce.
Officials told Jaquez that just one bottle cap of water can be enough to breed hundreds of mosquitoes in a single season.
DeKalb health officials want to make it clear, these are not human cases of the virus.
In most cases, if someone is infected with West Nile, they will see no symptoms.
About one in five people who are infected with the virus can develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.