CHATHAM, Ga. (WSAV) — Several mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Chatham County, according to the County’s Mosquito Control.

These are the first positive WNV tests in the Chatham County mosquito population this year. The infected mosquitos were collected from Savannah’s south side and the islands area.

Mosquito Control is planning to treat the impacted areas with insecticide.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Officials say most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 20% of people who are infected will have mild symptoms such as a fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

However, a West Nile Virus infection can be serious, and 1 out of 150 infected people develop a severe, sometimes fatal, illness.

There is no vaccine or cure for WNV, so prevention is key.

Chatham County health officials urge all residents to take steps to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate standing water.

“We’ve had a lot of rain in recent weeks, creating an ideal environment for mosquitos to breed,” said Dr. Chris Rustin, Administrator of the Chatham County Health Department. “Make sure to routinely drain any flowerpots, bird baths, or other outdoor containers that have been collecting water, and ensure gutters and eaves are clear of leaves and debris trapping water. This will help discourage mosquito activity around your home.”

The Chatham County Health Department recommends residents to follow the “5 Ds” of mosquito bite prevention:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Avoid dusk & dawn activities during summer when mosquitoes are most

active

  • 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 repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.