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Health officials confirm state's first West Nile case

ATLANTA -- A Brantley County resident infected in May was confirmed this week as the first human case of West Nile Virus in Georgia.

The adult patient, who lives in the southeast part of the state, recovered without being hospitalized or having complications. The early case of the WNV has caused officials from the Georgia Department of Public Health to urge people to protect themselves against mosquitoes.

"Standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that may be infected with West Nile Virus," said Rosmarie Kelly, a Georgia Department of Public Health entomologist. "In the heat of summer, it can take less than 10 days to go from egg to adult mosquito."

Health officials remind people to empty standing water from containers such as flower pots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths.

Health officials said symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

Mosquitoes carrying WNV typically bite at dusk and dawn, so officials urge people to avoid or limit outdoor activity at those times of day.