West Nile could hit area after Atlanta confirmed cases

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News 12 at 11 O'clock / Monday, August 11, 2014

Augusta, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's hard to believe that something smaller than a penny can hurt you, but some mosquito bites are deadly.

Four Atlanta parks have tested positive for the West Nile Virus this summer and one expert says beware. News 12 spoke with Richmond County Mosquito Control and they say it's not a matter of if, but when will West Nile make it to our area.

The West Nile Virus may not be grabbing headlines, but it shouldn't be ignored either.

"It's going to come back. It's a cyclical thing. It's going to happen again," Fred Koehle told News 12.

Koehle runs mosquito control for Richmond County. He said the insects with the virus found in 4 Atlanta parks can't fly very far, but birds can.

"If the birds that are infected leave and come this direction then we could pick it up," he said of the Atlanta outbreak.

West Nile can also be deadly. In 2012, it took an 80-year-old North Augusta man's life. Koehle said flu-like symptoms comes first followed by body aches.

"If you think you've got West Nile Virus have a doctor confirm with a blood test. That's the only way to know for sure," he said.

Koehle says beside wearing pants and long sleeves repellants with DEET are the best way to keep mosquitoes away; and if you think the end of summer break for your child will reduce their chances think again. Koehle said these bugs love to bite when kids head off and come back from school.

"Those mosquitoes are out in early morning and they are out in the evening. The time when kids are going to school, people going to work. Same thing in the evenings. You've got families coming home. Kids want to go out and play. People want to go out and exercise or grill," he told News 12.

To fight West Nil, Richmond County is spraying all 22,000 storm drains four times a year. They will also come and spray the outside of your house at no cost if you have a mosquito problem just call 706-821-2300 or 311 if you live in Augusta.


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