The Fulton County Board of Health has announced a local hospital has verified a 44-year-old woman living in the county has tested positive for West Nile Virus. It is Fulton’s first human case of the virus this year.

As a result, county officials are asking the county’s residents to take extra caution to protect themselves and their families from the virus after a local hospital verified a

The virus is a potentially serious mosquito-transmitted disease that can cause illness or death. Though most individuals who are infected with the disease do not have symptoms, others may experience mild or flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands and rash. A small number of people infected may develop serious illnesses, such as meningitis (swelling of the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) or encephalitis (swelling of the brain).

“This unfortunate incident reinforces the need for all of us to remain vigilant in practicing prevention techniques to control mosquito breeding,” S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., the board of health’s interim district health director, said in a news release. “Practicing prevention techniques that control mosquito breeding, coupled with applying personal protection techniques, has proven effective in combating West Nile Virus.”

Eliminating standing water in and around your home is the most effective way to prevent mosquito breeding. According to public health officials, a significant amount of water is not necessary for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. In fact, a mosquito can lay dozens of eggs in a water-filled bottle cap. Tossing out any amount of water can make a huge difference in reducing the number of mosquitoes around one’s home.

The board of health recommends one applies tip ‘n toss techniques by turning over flowerpots, covering wading pools and throwing out water stored in buckets, pet bowls and other containers after every rainfall.

Taking these actions at least once a week can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around one’s home. In addition to applying tip ‘n toss techniques, one can also control the mosquito population near and around your home by removing debris, repairing missing or damaged window screens and unclogging drain gutters.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes when you’re outside, health officials recommend one wears clothing that protects one’s arms, legs and neck. One should also use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent as well to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

For more information about the board of health and its environmental health program, visit fultoncountyboh.org.

For more tips and information on mosquito control, visit www.fultoncountyboh.org, dph.ga.gov or www.cdc.gov.

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