Health officials find mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus around Atlanta park

ATLANTA — Local health officials have just discovered new evidence of the West Nile virus in and around Grant Park. The West Nile virus, carried by mosquitoes, first appeared in the Atlanta area 20 years ago.

“Essentially, it was a mosquito trap that had collected some mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile virus,” said Galen Baxter of the Fulton County Board of Health.

Baxter says more rain, and we’ve had plenty, means more mosquitoes. This increases the odds that some of the insects are infected.

He advises local residents to avoid going out at dawn or dusk. Residents should use insect repellent and anything holding rain water around the house should be dumped out.

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Tessa Shlaer says because of what happened to her grandfather, she won’t take any chances.

“That’s how he died. Encephalitis from West Nile,” said Shlaer.

She plans to take precautions when visiting the area around Grant Park.

“Yeah, especially now--knowing there have been cases found of mosquitoes with West Nile in this area. I would avoid the times when they’re most active.”

Baxter says they’ve hired a contractor to spray the affected areas during the overnight hours.

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