West Nile virus reported in Camden County

CAMDEN COUNTY — The West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected among a sample of mosquitoes collected in St. Marys.

Health officials say the results taken earlier this week are an indication that WNV is actively circulating in local mosquito populations, regardless of the exact location of the positive mosquito sample, and appropriate precautions should be taken.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. Fortunately, most people infected with the virus do not feel sick. Roughly 20% of people who become infected develop a fever and other symptoms, with 1 out of 150 infected people developing a serious, sometimes fatal, illness [1].

In 2020, 8 cases of WNV in Georgia were reported to the CDC. In Florida, 50 cases were reported, 3 of which resulted in death [2].

Camden County health officials say people can mitigate their risk by following the “5 Ds”:

  • 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 DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain – Empty any outdoor containers holding standing water because they are breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good condition. Fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.
  • Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk and dawn activities during the summer when mosquitoes are most active.

For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit gachd.org/mosquitoes.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator.