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State sees two more West Nile cases
Disease hits 18 in state so far this year
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LAWRENCEVILLE — Two more cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Georgia this week, keeping the state — like the rest of country — on pace to have its worst season in years.

A 53-year-old Gwinnett County resident is in the recovery stages after testing positive for the mosquito-borne disease, the county's health department announced Wednesday. Health department spokesman Vernon Goins declined to identify the resident or give the specific area of the Gwinnett County where the person lives.

It's the second reported case of West Nile for the suburban Atlanta county. In July, a 57-year-old resident tested positive for the disease.

Meanwhile, in rural Mitchell County near Albany, an 82-year-old woman is in a hospital intensive care unit with the illness, health officials said Tuesday. Health officials did not identify the woman.

So far, the state has had 18 reported West Nile cases this year, compared to just eight cases last year.

West Nile virus was first reported in the United States in 1999 in New York, then spread across the country. Only about one in five infected people get sick. Severe symptoms including neck stiffness, disorientation, coma and paralysis.

Mosquitoes transmit the virus, often picking it up from birds they bite and then spreading it to people.

Health officials warn the public to use mosquito repellent, install and repair screens and eliminate standing water and other mosquito breeding areas.

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