What is West Nile Virus? - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

What is West Nile Virus?

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA, Ga. -

Emory infectious disease specialist Dr. Jay Varkey stopped by Good Day Atlanta and spoke about the current West Nile Virus outbreak. It' s been called one of the largest in the U.S., with four times the usual number of cases for this time of year according to federal health officials. 

Dr. Varkey spoke about how it's spread, the symptoms, and when to call the doctor as well as advice on how they can protect themselves and their family. 

For more information on the West Nile Virus, click here. 

Important points:

1. More than 99 percent of people who get infected with West Nile Virus have no symptoms or a "flu-like" illness that gets resolves with no additional treatment.

2. In less than 1 percent of West Nile Virus infections, people can develop serious neuroinvasive complications including:

  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Paralysis

3. To protect yourself against West Nile Virus, the Georgia Department of Public Health recommends "The 5 D's of WNV 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 and clothes with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET—the most effective repellant against mosquito bites.
  • Drain: Empty any containers (buckets, barrels, kiddie pools) holding standing water to prevent breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
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