West Nile virus was discovered in 1937 in the West Nile district of Uganda. New interest was created when West Nile emerged in the United States for the first time in the New York City area in August 1999. It is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by biting birds that harbor the virus. The virus is not spread from person to person or from infected birds to humans without a mosquito bite. The virus has now been found in 111 bird species and about a dozen mammals.
How West Nile virus entered New York is not entirely clear. The most likely explanation is that the virus was introduced by an imported infected bird or by an infected human returning from a country where West Nile virus is common. Before the 1999 New York outbreak, West Nile encephalitis had been identified only in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and only rarely in Europe.
Most cases of West Nile occur during the warm weather months. Nonetheless, the mild climate in southern states is expected to sustain the mosquitoes beyond those months.
Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, Environmental Services Division is committed to the protection of Fulton County Citizens from the West Nile Virus by taking preventive measures. You will find a wealth of information on this web page to protect yourself and your loved ones from the West Nile Virus.
What Can I Do to Prevent WNV?
New! Prevention measures consist of community-based mosquito control programs that are able to reduce vector populations, personal protection measures to reduce the likelihood of being bitten by infected mosquitoes, and the underlying surveillance programs that characterize spatial/temporal patterns in risk that allow health and vector control agencies to target their interventions and resources.
The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
- When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
- Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
- Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.