Protect Yourself Against Mosquito-borne Illnesses Such As West Nile Virus

With DHEC announcing on August 1 that an individual in South Carolina was reported to be sick from West Nile virus — the first such occurrence in the 2018 mosquito season  — it is important to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites.

Be sure to pay attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • 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.

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

What are the symptoms of West Nile virus disease?

  • Febrile illness in some people. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
  • Severe symptoms in a few people. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis.

For more information about preventing mosquito bites and the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, go to www.scdhec.gov/mosquitoes. Learn more about West Nile virus at www.scdhec.gov/westnile.

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