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Georgia West Nile cases nearly triple from last year

MGN

MACON, Ga. -- According to the Georgia Department of Health, there have been nearly 20 confirmed cases of the West Nile virus and three deaths as a result of the virus in Georgia so far this year.

This includes the several cases of West Nile that were confirmed in Houston County.

This compares to the seven confirmed cases and no deaths that the state saw in 2016.

The department of health is encouraging public awareness of the virus and and prevention efforts, which they say is the best way to protect yourself.

One of the prevention efforts that the department of health is pushing is the "Five D's," which include "dusk/dawn," "dress," "DEET," "drain" and "doors."

The department says that mosquitoes come out most frequently at dusk and dawn, so they encourage limiting outdoor activity at those times. Additionally, they encourage wearing long sleeves and pants while outdoors to prevent mosquito bites. Using bug spray that contains DEET can also prevent bites.

Furthermore, they encourage draining all empty containers that can hold standing water, which is where mosquitoes breed.

Finally, the department says you should make sure all doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly and that all torn or damaged screens are fixed.

Some symptoms of West Nile include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches and a rash. The department of health says that elderly people are at higher risk of complications from the disease.

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