UPDATE Aug. 8: Alpharetta Recreation and Parks Director Mike Perry said the city has responded to the report. "We have treated the area with insecticide and will have other professionals evaluate the site for more action," he said in an email response to questions.
A mosquito sample in Wills Park has tested positive for the West Nile Virus, according to a news release from the Fulton County Department of Health Services.
The Georgia Division of Public Health notified the department that mosquito samples in six Fulton County communities have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. A mosquito “sample” refers to a collection of mosquitoes from a particular area that is tested for the virus.
“August begins the peak season for West Nile Virus,” said Patrice A. Harris, Director of Fulton County Health Services. “The identification of these samples is a reminder to all of us to take precautions when outdoors.”
"We have about 30 locations strategically placed around the county. And that's from the north, central and south," said Kevin Jones, deputy director of Fulton County Environmental Health Services, in a phone interview today, Aug. 7.
"We don't have any reports of any people having West Nile Virus in Fulton County," he said.
The locations of the sites for each positive mosquito sample are as follows:
- Tanyard Creek CSO, Atlanta– one (1) positive mosquito sample
- Frankie Allen Park, 425 Pharr Rd., N. E., Atlanta one (1) positive mosquito sample
- Grove Park (709 Hortense Place, Atlanta)-one (1) positive mosquito sample
- Ronald Bridges Park (5285 Lakeside Dr., College Park) one (1) positive mosquito sample
- Burdett Park (2945 Burdett Rd., College Park) one (1) positive mosquito sample
- (1925 Wills Rd., Alpharetta) one (1) positive mosquito sample
Jones said the department passes out information in a half-mile radius around the positive test site. This information asks the residents to "remain vigilant, look around their homes to see if they have any pots, any saucers that may be holding water, and to check bird baths every couple of days and change the water." People going outside are reminded to wear mosquito repellent. If they prefer not to wear it, they should wear long sleeves and long pants, he said.
Did you receive this information from Fulton County? Are you following its suggestions?
"We chose sites that we thought would be most appropriate. We wanted to make sure that we had several in each municipality, and that they were covering or spanning the entire county," Jones said.
When the department gets a lot of complaints from a specific neighborhood, they make sure a mosquito trap is set there for the next season.
To reduce exposure to mosquitoes and to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus, Fulton County Health Services recommends the following:
- Limit outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and dress appropriately when outdoors for long periods.
- Use insect repellant with an EPA-approved active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Always follow the directions on the package for the safest and most effective use.
- Remove standing water or treat it with a larvicide to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.
- Dump containers such as recycling bins, empty flowerpots and other containers that may collect water.
- Change water in birdbaths or small wading pools at least once a week.
The department's release said WNV usually infects birds, but it can spread to humans by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds and then bite humans. Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes do not get sick. People who have chronic medical conditions are at greater risk of developing severe illness if infected with WNV. Those who do get sick from WNV often suffer a mild flu-like illness and recover without treatment.
For more information on West Nile Virus and prevention methods, call the Mosquito Hotline: 404-730-5296 or contact the Fulton County Health Services, Division of Environmental Health at (404) 613-1301, or, you can log-on to www.fultoncountygahealth.org.