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Protect Against West Nile Virus

The most effective way to protect against West Nile Virus infection and all mosquito-borne diseases, is to prevent mosquito bites. Observe the “Five D’s of Prevention” during your outdoor activities:

  • Dusk/Dawn – Mosquitoes carrying WNV usually bite at dusk and dawn, so avoid or limit outdoor activity at these times.
  • Dress – Wear loose-fitting, long sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
  • DEET – Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
  • Drain - Empty any containers holding standing water because they are excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Doors – Make sure doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly, and fix torn or damaged screens to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash - that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying medical conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.

Anyone with questions about West Nile Virus should speak to their healthcare provider or call their local county health department, environmental health office.         

More information about mosquito-borne illnesses and mosquito repellents can be found here.

PHInsider

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Commissioner's Corner

J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D. was appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health July 7, 2017, by Governor Nathan Deal. 

In addition to his role of commissioner, Dr. O’Neal serves as the director of Health Protection for the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), where he has oversight responsibility for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Trauma, Emergency Preparedness, Epidemiology, Infectious Disease, Immunizations and Environmental Health.

Since 2002, Dr. O’Neal has served as the medical director for the Office of EMS/Trauma in the Georgia Division of Public Health under the Department of Community Health (DCH). For 29 years prior, he practiced emergency medicine at DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur. In his final seven years at DeKalb Medical Center, he served as the regional medical director for EMS throughout the Greater Atlanta area. Dr. O’Neal formerly served as director of the Outpatient Clinic at the Medical Center of Central Georgia for two years before his work at DeKalb.

He completed an undergraduate program at Davidson College in North Carolina and received his medical education at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Following medical school, he completed a rotating internship at Providence Hospital, Portland, Oregon, before entering the United States Air Force for training in flight medicine. Dr. O’Neal served as a flight surgeon in Viet Nam in 1970-71.

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News Releases

Widespread Flu in Georgia

January 12, 2018

ATLANTA –  If you have not gotten a flu shot yet, do not wait any longer! Flu is widespread in Georgia, and more than three hundred individuals have been hospitalized with flu-related illness.