LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two cases of West Nile virus, including one fatal, have been reported in Gwinnett County in recent weeks, health officials said Wednesday.
Karen Shields -- communications director for the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments -- said two cases of West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen, have been reported locally since late August.
One victim, a 53-year-old, has recovered. Another victim, a 78-year-old, has died after being hospitalized, Shields said. Further details regarding either case were not immediately available Wednesday.
"At this time, I don't have any additional information on these incidents," Shields said.
One health official said last month that the 21 West Nile cases in Georgia at that time were more "by the third week in August than at any time in the last 10 years." In data updated Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed a total of 43 cases in Georgia this year, including four fatal.
None had been reported in Gwinnett until the two revealed Wednesday.
Nationwide, a total of 3,545 West Nile virus cases have been reported to the CDC this year. As of Tuesday, 147 had been fatal.
"Protection and prevention are two important areas to focus on," Alana Sulka, the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments' director of epidemiology, said in a statement. "The best way to avoid West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites."
Officials urged the "five D's of prevention."
-- Dusk: Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus usually bite at dusk and dawn
-- Dawn: Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn if possible
-- 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 the chemical DEET, the most effective repellent against mosquito bites
-- Drain: Empty any containers holding standing water. They can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.