DHEC urges South Carolinians to protect against mosquito bites in light of confirmed West Nile virus cases

COLUMBIA, S.C. – An Anderson County individual has died from West Nile virus, the first such occurrence in South Carolina this year, and DHEC is urging residents to take precautions.

In 2017, DHEC has confirmed seven human cases of West Nile virus, along with detection in 10 birds and 55 mosquito samples.

The risk of serious illness or death from West Nile Virus is low. Less than one percent of people infected develop a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis. Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms. About one in five people infected becomes ill within two to 14 days with symptoms including fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. They may often experience sensitivity to light and inflammation of the eyelids, and some may have a rash.

“If you develop fever or other symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, you should contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Melissa Overman, SC Assistant State Epidemiologist.

Protect yourself 

DHEC stresses the importance of paying attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile Virus:

  • Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing to cover the skin reduces the risk of bites.

Information on West Nile is available

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