Science

Ga. Mosquitoes Hit Peak Season For West Nile Transmission

The period between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15 is traditionally the peak time for West Nile transmission in Georgia.
The period between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15 is traditionally the peak time for West Nile transmission in Georgia.
Credit Andre Penner, File / AP Photo
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Mosquitoes are thriving with all the rain in Georgia this summer, and that heightens attention on the West Nile virus.

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Standing water is a haven for mosquitoes, according to UGA Extension entomologist Elmer Gray.

“I was out looking around, and there are mosquito larvae everywhere,” Gray said.

Eight Georgians have been diagnosed with West Nile so far this year according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The period between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15 is traditionally the peak time for West Nile transmission in Georgia.

“People who are doing mosquito surveillance, where they actually collect mosquitoes and test them to see if they have been exposed to the virus, have been seeing a fair amount of virus in the mosquitoes,” Gray said.

He pointed out that it is important to dump anything around your home that contains water.

“Everything is holding water right now,” Gray said. “I saw a chair in my yard – a lawn chair with a web nylon seat – had mosquito larvae in it.” 

The southern house mosquito is the main carrier of the West Nile virus. Gray said that species is thriving because larvae have had time to develop in storm drains.  

The state is still far away from hitting a record in West Nile cases; back in 2012, there were 117 in Georgia.