CHATHAM COUNTY — Officials from the Coastal Health District — which includes Liberty, Long, Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn and McIntosh counties — are reminding residents to take precautions to avoid mosquitoes, which are a nuisance and can carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and chikungunya.
WNV is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. About 80 percent of people infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all; however, cases can range from mild to severe. Mosquitoes that carry the virus are more likely to bite during the evening, night and early morning.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne virus that causes swelling of the brain. In horses, it is fatal 70-90 percent of the time. Horse and large-animal owners are encouraged to vaccinate their animals against the virus and to clean out watering sources, such as buckets and troughs, every three or four days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding there.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people with chikungunya will develop some symptoms that could include fever, joint and muscle pain, headache and rash. There is no specific treatment, and most who get it feel better within a week. Unlike mosquitoes that carry WNV, mosquitoes that spread the chikungunya virus bite mostly during the day.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so it is important to remove water-holding containers, such as buckets, barrels, flower pots and tarps. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when not in use. Change water frequently in pet dishes and avoid using saucers under outdoor potted plants.