Health officials: Don’t be complacent about Zika

ATLANTA – With mosquito season almost here, state public health officials are warning people not to become complacent about the Zika virus.

All the cases of Zika virus in Georgia involved people who contracted it in other countries.

Health officials here are concerned that the types of mosquitoes that can carry the virus could bite an infected person who just returned to Georgia, and then transmit it to someone else.

Channel 2’s Carol Sbarge asked state public health officials if the unusually mild winter means we’ll have more mosquitoes in Georgia this year.

The Director of Health Protection for the Georgia Department of Public Health said that doesn’t necessarily mean more mosquitoes because some life stages of mosquitos can survive even a cold winter.

Dr. Patrick O’Neal said even if we had a very cold winter, you can’t predict that means fewer mosquitoes.

O’Neal is focused on Georgians not becoming lax about trying to prevent mosquito bites. He said the best protection is mosquito repellent and to also make sure you empty any standing water near your home.

O’Neal said that includes places you wouldn’t think of, such as a magnolia leaf, which can gather water.

Georgia is keeping a registry of pregnant woman who contracted Zika while traveling in other countries to monitor the effects on their children.

O’Neal said it’s still not known whether contracting Zika has any ramifications later in life. Researchers are working on a vaccine

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