Thu., July 28, 2011 5:20pm (EDT)

Chatham Sets West Nile Record
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Health officials say, Georgians should take mosquito precautions even if they don't live in one of the three counties where West Nile virus was detected in mosquitoes.  That's because many counties don't test mosquitoes and it's possible that the virus is more widespread than detection numbers would indicate.  (photo Trebola)
Health officials say, Georgians should take mosquito precautions even if they don't live in one of the three counties where West Nile virus was detected in mosquitoes. That's because many counties don't test mosquitoes and it's possible that the virus is more widespread than detection numbers would indicate. (photo Trebola)
Officials in Savannah's Chatham County say, this year is the worst on record for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus.

The county leads the state in West Nile detection.

So far this year, Chatham County has found 67-mosquitoes carrying the virus.

The only other counties detecting West Nile are Metro Atlanta's DeKalb County with 14 mosquitoes and Valdosta's Lowndes County with one.

Chatham County Mosquito Control chief Henry Lewandowski says, federal budget cuts mean, other counties in the state don't have the resources to test.

"The findings we have this year aren't as thorough as we have seen in previous years," Lewandowski says. "So that doesn't mean we're not seeing activities in other counties. We just don't know about it."

Lewandowski says, dry weather and the virus's natural four-year cycle combined to make this an especially bad year for West Nile.

"This is likely to last through October or even November," Lewandowski says. "We have quite a ways to go and we've already exceeded our previous season high."

Chatham County so far this year has confirmed one possible case of the virus in humans.

In the last record year, 2003, one elderly Chatham County woman died from West Nile virus.