COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - An elderly man in Columbus is clinging to life, fighting the West Nile Virus. 66 year old Johnny Day contracted the mosquito borne respiratory illness in August. His wife, Jean, tells Fox 54, that her husband spent a lot of time mowing the lawn and enjoying the outdoors.
Today, he's bed ridden at his Oakland Park home. "He is paralyzed from his head down, but he still can't talk or do anything. He can blink his eyes, if you ask him a question," says Day.
The family is speaking out now because they say they want to prevent others from getting the debilitating virus. "I talked to several people that are in higher positions and they just said it was best if we didn't let the public know because it would put people in an uproar and scare them," says Day's daughter, Maggie Dennison.
The Georgia Public Health Department is assisting Columbus with trying to detect if there's a problem in Oakland Park which is located within two miles from Oxbow Meadows, a former swamp land. Mosquito traps were collected today and taken to Atlanta to test for the West Nile Virus.
"If the mosquitoes turn out to be positive, I'll let the health department know, they'll contact people in the neighborhood and let them know if there's a problem and what they can do to protect themselves and maybe apply some extra larvacide," says Rosmarie Kelly, Public Health Entomologist.
Kelly also says this time of year, is a low West Nile Virus risk. When surveying the Oakland Park area, she says it's clean with very little standing water, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Older urban areas, like Oakland Park, are more prone to have mosquitoes.
So far, there have been two confirmed West Nile cases in the Columbus area with 1 death, according to Ed Saidla, District Project Manager, Columbus Health Department.
Remember, to avoid contact with biting mosquitoes, wear long sleeves, use insect repellent and remove any standing water from around our property.
To report any mosquito problems, contact the Columbus Health Department at 706-321-6170.
The report on the Mosquitoes is expected back in about a week.
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