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West Nile found at Briscoe
Mosquitoes test positive for virus

SNELLVILLE - A pool of 25 mosquitoes trapped at Snellville's Briscoe Park has tested positive for West Nile Virus, officials with the city announced Wednesday.

The city was notified Monday by the Gwinnett County Health Department that mosquitoes trapped at the far end of the park were carriers of the disease.

Once alerted, Cyndee Bonacci, director of Parks and Recreation for the city, said park maintenance was told to immediately resupply larvicide briquettes throughout the park in an effort to eliminate any potential mosquito population.

"Before each summer we put out larvicide briquettes all throughout the park," Bonacci said. "We do two applications during the summer. The briquettes last a couple of months."

Bonacci said the reapplication was carried out Monday in addition to the briquettes already dispersed earlier in the summer.

Health Department spokesman Vernon Goins said mosquito traps are set each year around the park. He said the infected batch was from a trap including 25 of the insects, a trap set July 30 and retrieved the following day. The trappings were taken to the University of Georgia in Athens for testing Aug. 2. Goins said the health department was notified of the appearance of the virus Monday.

According to Goins, a second batch of mosquitoes were trapped and retrieved from the park at the same time, but the pool of 100 did not test positive for West Nile. Goins said positive mosquitoes were last found in the park in 2005 and 2004.

Bonacci said further precautions and treatment at the park have not yet been recommended by the health department.

Goins said if three consecutive pools of positive mosquitoes are retrieved from park traps spraying insecticide would most likely be suggested.

"This is what we refer to as the most dangerous time of the mosquito season because we are at the peak," Goins said. "It's dangerous because they can breed in as little as four days in this extreme heat."

Goins said the health department is encouraging people to take precautions to avoid being bit and the possibility of spreading the disease.

The health department and the Center for Disease Control suggest reducing time spent outdoors, using repellents that contain DEET and eliminating outdoor times that can collect water.

Spread to humans and animals by the flying insects, the virus often results in flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, headache, neck stiffness and muscle weakness, and although rare, can lead to serious and sometimes fatal illnesses, including inflammation of the brain and the spinal cord.

A complete list of preventative suggestions and possible symptoms can be found at www.cdc.gov.

Just last week state officials announced Gwinnett was one of the first two counties in the state to report a human case of the virus. The second case was reported in Johnson County.

A 57-year-old resident in the county was said to have contracted the mosquito-borne disease. State officials would not say where in the county the infected person lived.

Goins said although the person's case was reported this year, the virus was not active in the person's blood and was mostly likely contracted at an earlier date.

Goins said the county has been and will continue to take precautions to decrease the amount to the virus in the county but said the it is impossible to completely eradicate mosquitoes or prevent the possible spread of the virus.

"It's impossible to eliminate all mosquitoes," Goins said.