By John Schaffner
Two collections of mosquitoes from a pond at Frankie Allen Park in Buckhead recently tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness.
The county health unit has distributed 486 pieces of literature to homes and businesses within a half-mile radius of the park, located at 425 Pharr Road, advising residents of the potential dangers from mosquitoes, according to April Majors of Fulton County.
Majors said the area at Frankie Allen Park has been treated to kill the mosquito lava and any affected water has been removed.
As of Aug. 13, the Environmental Health Services team had investigated and responded to 97 mosquito related complaints throughout the county. The agency responds to all mosquito-related complaints within 72 hours.
Inspections of homes consist of determining where mosquitoes are breeding and providing homeowners with measures for remediation. Homeowners also receive mosquito repellant upon request.
The county urges homeowners and businesses to properly store tires. Improperly stored tires can hold water and breed mosquitoes. The species of mosquitoes that primarily carry the West Nile Virus (culex quinquefasciatus) breeds best on the inside of tires holding water.
The virus usually infects birds, but it can spread to humans by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds and then bite humans. Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes do not get sick. Less than 1 percent of people infected develop serious illness such as encephalitis or paralysis. People who have chronic medical conditions are at greater risk of developing severe illness if infected with. Those who do get sick from the virus often suffer a mild flu-like illness and recover without treatment.
For more information on West Nile Virus and prevention methods, call the Mosquito Hotline: 404-730-5296 or contact the Fulton County Department of Health Services, Division of Environmental Health at 404-730-1301, or log-on to ultoncountygahealth.org.
Virus prevention guides
To reduce the risk of West Nile Virus, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness recommends the following:
- Avoid outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and dress appropriately when outdoors for long periods.
- Use insect repellant with an EPA-approved active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Always follow the directions on the package for the safest and most effective use.
- Remove standing water or treat it with larvicides to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.
- Dump containers such as recycling bins or empty flowerpots that may collect water.