South Georgia health officials want to make sure residents are taking the proper precautions to help prevent the Zika virus from coming to the area.
So far, Georgia has more than 50 cases of the Zika virus, including a sexually transmitted case. The mosquito-borne disease that can cause severe birth defects has not yet reached the South Georgia region yet. But, health experts say preventative efforts are key to helping the area stay Zika free.
“Essentially just using EPA-registered insect repellent, wearing long sleeve and long pants—weather permitting, of course—as well as avoid travel to the areas that are Zika infected as well,” said Georgia’s South Health District Epidemiologist Ken Lowry, speaking on the city of Valdosta’s youtube channel.
Lowry says while symptoms are typically mild—if someone suspects they have Zika, there are some steps they can take.
“Contact your health department, make them aware of your travel, and then they can get in touch with us at the South Health District or the Health Department, and we can facilitate testing accordingly,” he added.
Lowry says health experts are still monitoring to see if blood transfusion is a possible way to spread Zika.
And, while Georgia only has about an eighth of Florida’s cases, the two states do share similarities in terms of prevention efforts. Florida has a “Spill the Water” Campaign to help reduce mosquito breeding sites. And Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald says the Peach State has a “Tip ‘N Toss” campaign.
“Tip and toss standing water around your home and yard, after very rainfall or at least once a week. Rid your yard of any containers that you don’t need that hold water,” said Fitzgerald. “For more information about Zika virus, go to our website: dph.ga.gov.”
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