Flooding, more rain could lead to West Nile cases


News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, July 17, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- One bite is all it takes.

"We unfortunately have to wait until somebody gets sick," said Oscar Flites, who works with the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy.

"The more mosquitoes, potentially the more virus," he said.

So he'll be logging a lot more hours in the lab at Phinizy Swamp to make sure you don't end up in the hospital.

"Developed a surveillance, so we know where the mosquitoes are and test those mosquitoes for viruses," he said.

Last year, there were three cases of West Nile in Richmond County, three in Columbia County and five in Aiken.

"Mosquitoes need a place to lay eggs and that's going to be in standing water," he said.

One bottle cap alone can hold more than 10,000 mosquito eggs and a puddle can hold more than a million eggs.

"With the surveillance program, you would know where those areas are and you'd be able to target more intelligently where the spraying and the control should be," Flites said.

Fred Koehle works with Mosquito Control in Augusta.

"They're looking for water in a field or in a storm drain or in a yard," he said.

He's now more cautious after Georgia saw its first human case of the virus.

"It's just a situation down there where it came a little early. We usually don't see it the first part of July, usually you don't see it until the end of July, the first part of August," Koehle said.

Both Koehle and Flites admit that's just too close for comfort.

"This is why it's so important to have a mosquito surveillance program," Flites said.


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