Mosquito season brings new disease

News 12 at 11 / Tuesday, June 24, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Mosquito season is kicking off, and it's bringing a new sickness with it called Chikungunya.

There's one confirmed case in South Georgia, and a mosquito expert says it's just a matter of time before it makes its way here.

Vernon Wright loves to play with his grandson outside, but when the heat isn't bothering him, something else is.

"Insects. They are really bad around here," Wright said.

Mosquitos are so bad in Wright's neighborhood that he bought a screened in gazebo for another layer of protection.

"You just can't do it and not have this. They are flying everywhere around you. You're fanning. It's just an uncomfortable situation," he said.

His neighbor took another step by calling the county to spray them. Wright says it's bad enough mosquitos eat into his time with his grandson. What's even worse, they can make him sick.

"There's all kinds of diseases that they carry," Wright said.

It's not if it gets here. The question is when it gets here. Fred Koehle says chikungunya is in 27 states, and Georgia is one of the last to get it.

"It's going to be just like the flu. You are going to have high fever, you are going to have cramps, you are going to have pain. You are going to feel sick and worn out," Koehle said

There's no cure for the chickungunya virus, and antibotics only ease the fever and the extreme joint pain.

"We've already started spraying but it's done by request only now," Koehle said.

Richmond County will send a crew to your home check it out, and spray the outside. Koehle says repellant, pants, and long sleeves add protection. Keeping gutters clean and dumping sitting water helps, too.

"They are breeding out of there. It called larvae," Koehle said.

Back at Wright's house, the gazebo and mosquito lamp isn't enough. Now he's thinking about following his neighbor's lead.

If you live in Richmond County, mosquito control will spray your house at no cost. Just call and set an appointment. Call 311 or 706-821-2300.

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