Georgia health officials say they've got their biggest crop of West Nile virus cases in at least a decade -- 21 cases and three deaths.
So far, none of those cases are in Central Georgia.
The virus can lead to brain or spinal cord swelling, or even death.
The state Department of Public Health is warning people to avoid the disease by taking precautions against mosquito bites:
Dusk - Mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus usually bite at dusk and dawn.
Dawn - Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and dawn if possible. If you must be outside, be sure to protect yourself from bites.
Dress - Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of exposed skin.
DEET - Cover exposed skin with an insect repellent containing the chemical DEET, which is the most effective repellent against mosquito bites.
Drain - Empty any containers holding standing water because they can be excellent breeding grounds for virus-carrying mosquitoes.
So far, the state reports confirmed cases in these counties:
Dougherty County (Albany), seven cases;
Cobb County, three cases;
Muscogee (Columbus) two cases.
And one case each in these counties: Bartow, Columbia, Fulton, Forsyth, Early, Lee, Mitchell, Richmond and Worth.
Two deaths were reported in Dougherty County and one in Early County.
The state says: Symptoms of WNV include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that usually develop three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, or those with other underlying conditions are at greater risk for complications from the disease.