New mosquito illness hits Georgia

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - This week is National Mosquito Awareness Week, and ironically enough, a new mosquito borne illness has made it's way to Georgia.

It's called chikungunya, and there is one reported case in Georgia and 80 nationally according to the Center for Disease Control.

Fred Koehle with the Richmond County Mosquito Control says this virus didn't start here in the United States.

"It didn't come in on the menu from Wifesaver, it did come in with a tourist who was in the South Atlantic for a nice vacation," he says.

Koehle says the mosquito carrying the virus is no stranger to the area.

"It is our most common mosquito that we have in this area and it's a daytime biter," says Koehle. 

Once bitten, the flu like symptoms set in, and could cause you to feel feverish, have headaches, and body aches that can last for years.  The only way to know if you have the virus is through a blood test.

Augusta resident Tabber Mintz has two kids of his own, and says this is something people need to be careful of.

"It's good to know and be aware of," Mintz says. 

He says especially with the hot summer weather, staying indoors may be a better option.

"We'll probably just stay indoors if the mosquitoes look bad," he says.

Koehle says people should avoid standing water and going out at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. But he urges people to do one main thing during this heavy mosquito season.

"The biggest thing is to get some kind of mosquito repellant and use it regularly," Koehle says.

There is no cure for chikungunya, and if you don't want to use a mosquito repellant, you can also use oil of eucalyptus to keep mosquitos away.

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