ATLANTA — Georgia health officials have confirmed nearly 20 human case of West Nile virus so far this year, including at least three deaths.

The Georgia Department of Public Health, in a news release Friday, said there were seven cases of the virus in humans last year and no confirmed deaths related to the disease.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches and a rash.

The state is urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites by avoiding or limiting outdoor activity; wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to reduce the amount of skin exposed; and using insect repellent containing DEET. In addition, empty containers holding standing water, which can be breeding grounds for the insects.

More information can be found at .

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