Health officials confirm West Nile Virus in Hamilton County - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Health officials confirm West Nile Virus in Hamilton County

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Health officials have confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus in Hamilton County.

According to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department, a pool of mosquitoes in Southeast Hamilton County tested positive for the virus.

"Although we have had no reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Hamilton County, it's more important than ever that people take steps to protect themselves," Bonnie Deakins, Director of Environmental Health Services at the Health Department said in a release Wednesday.

West Nile Virus is spread to humans and animals by infected mosquitoes.

Most people infected by West Nile show no symptoms, though some will develop serious symptoms including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, and paralysis. Milder cases of West Nile Virus often improve without medical treatment, but people with more severe cases usually need to go to the hospital for medical care.

The CHCHD says the best thing residents can do to reduce the spread of West Nile is to eliminate potential mosquito breeding areas: standing water.  

Health officials recommends residents: tip out barrels, buckets, wheelbarrows, and children's wading pools; change water in birdbaths and animal bowls at least once a week; get rid of used tires or drill holes in them for draining; clean garden ponds; recycle old bottles, buckets and cans; clean leaf-clogged gutters; empty water from flower pot dishes and saucers; dump water off of tarps and plastic sheeting; repair leaky outdoor faucets; cover rain barrels with mosquito screens.

The Health Department also recommends using an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to prevent mosquitoes from biting.

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