Editorial

7/24/2013

Protect yourself, family from West Nile Virus

Coastal Georgia residents are tired of hearing about what they need to do to defend themselves against mosquitoes and mosquito bites, but it's too important an issue to let go without reminders from time to time. These insects can kill and have, in fact, in Brunswick and the Golden Isles, as well as in other parts of the state and nation.

All the rain the area has had in recent weeks spells trouble, particularly in neighborhoods where residents are ignoring the advice of health officials and other experts about making sure nothing is collecting and holding water on their property. These can be prime breeding places for the species of mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile Virus and other nasty maladies to human beings.

Most can contract the virus and not ever know it. Others, though are more vulnerable. These include the elderly and young children.

It only takes a few minutes to check the premises for pools of water after a rain. These can be unused flower pots, bird baths and pet bowls, anything that allows water to stand for any length of time. Make sure there's no pooling from irrigation sprinklers too.

Experts say the entire state can expect a major breakout of mosquitoes in the coming weeks. Fortunately, most will be a species that does not carry potentially deadly viruses.

Residents in areas where the virus has struck, though, should brace for the worst. Already this year there has been a human case of West Nile in Brantley County, just west of here. That means the virus is present in the region. Savannah found mosquitoes that carried it.

Don't take chances. Try to limit time outdoors to late morning and afternoons. Dusk and dawn are feeding times for this insect, so try to stay indoors during those hours.

As an extra precaution, apply insect repellent with DEET and wear long sleeves and long pants, when feasible to do so.

Play it safe. Mosquitoes have claimed enough lives in Glynn County in the 21st century.