Category Archives: Disease Control

DHEC in the News: South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream program, Reedy Falls, mosquito control grant

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

The SCAAS program, which will mirror the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream (GAAAS) program, will promote and expand existing South Carolina volunteer stream monitoring efforts by providing volunteer monitors with a website for information, a database to maintain water quality monitoring data, training classes and materials, and other useful resources. Many volunteer organizations in South Carolina have already been using the Georgia program to monitor and record water quality in the streams and rivers around the Palmetto State.

  • The City of Greenville has begun a restoration project on Reedy Falls.

The stream bank restoration project is expected to take a week. Boulders are being placed along the Reedy River bank to help prevent erosion and create a safer slope between the river and sidewalk.

The grant provides funds to purchase additional insecticides and improved spraying equipment as well as to help pay for training in effective mosquito control procedures.

DHEC in the News: mosquito spraying, crisis stabilization unit reopens

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around the state.

Mosquito spraying will begin soon in Williamsburg County:

…at least 61 different species of mosquitoes exist in South Carolina. The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina include: West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.

DHEC has granted a special waiver to allow The Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center to reopen a facility aimed at keeping more non-violent, mentally ill patients out of jails and hospitals.

Existing regulations required all patients have a chest X-ray done at least 30 days prior to entering the crisis unit:

While the requirement still exists, DHEC has given the local facility, the only one of its kind in the state, a special waiver, Blalock said.
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Center officials are currently working alongside DHEC to acquire a “crisis stabilization” license, which the state doesn’t yet have.

For more news from DHEC, visit Live Healthy SC.

 

 

As you gear up for outside activities, watch out for mosquitoes

As the weather continues to warm up and summer hastens our way, so do the prospects of us spending more and more time participating in outdoor activities — from camping trips to cookouts to sports contests and sporting events.

While outdoor fun is great, don’t forget that mosquito season is fast-approaching as well. Be sure to take precautions to protect yourself against mosquito bites and the mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, the insect can spread.

Here are a few tips to help you protect yourself:

  • When you go outside, apply an EPA-recommended mosquito repellent to your skin or wear protective clothing.
  • Wear light colors and avoid wearing scented products outdoors.
  • Be careful when applying insect repellents to children and babies:

Spray repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Do not apply repellent to a child’s hands, mouth, cut or irritated skin.
Do not use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus on children younger than 3 years old. Do not use repellents containing DEET on babies younger than 2 months old.

  • Keep car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night.
  • Make sure all screens on windows and doors are intact and installed properly.

Visit the DHEC website for more information on how to protect yourself and your home against mosquitoes.

Be on the look out for ticks; they can spread diseases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that tick-borne diseases are on the rise. Everyone should take steps to prevent the diseases, particularly during the spring, summer and early-fall, when ticks are most active.

May through July is when people get more tick bites and tick-borne diseases than any other time of year in the United States, the CDC says on its website. During this season, it’s important to protect yourself, your loved ones and your pets from ticks.

Ticks cause Lyme disease, other illnesses

Ticks could be in the areas where we live, work and play; infected ticks can carry diseases, such as Lyme disease.

Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. While the CDC says more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported nationwide, it notes that studies suggest the actual number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is more likely about 300,000. Typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system. Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely.

The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well.
Concern has been raised about a potentially deadly tick-borne illness spreading across the country called the Powassan virus. It’s carried by the same tick that carries Lyme disease. Most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region.

Take steps to protect against ticks

Taking steps to protect yourself and your family from getting a tick bite is the best defense against Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. The CDC recommends that people:

  • Avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter; walk in the center of trails when hiking.
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin.
  • Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents or look for clothing pre-treated with permethrin.
  • Treat dogs for ticks, using tick collars, sprays, shampoos, etc. Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and accompanying diseases, and could bring ticks inside.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming inside to wash off and find ticks before they bite.

Take action now to control mosquitoes and avoid illnesses they might spread

Mosquito season isn’t in full swing, but we don’t have to wait until the pesky insects that can spread diseases such as Zika have us surrounded before taking action.

Now is the time to take precautions to limit the mosquito population and the possible spread of mosquito-borne diseases. It begins by cleaning up around your own home and yard. It’s especially important to get rid of and prevent standing water. Here are some suggestions:

  • Get rid of places where adult mosquitoes can find cool, dark and damp areas to rest by mowing the lawn, trimming shrubbery and cutting down weeds and vines, such as ivy, in the yard and next to the house.
  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt and other debris from pipes, especially those under a driveway. Make sure water does not stand inside or near the ends of the pipe.
  • Clean out rain gutters and downspouts regularly.
  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc.
  • Drain or fill any low places, such as potholes, on your property where water collects and stands for more than five to seven days.
  • Make sure that all permanent water containers such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks and cesspools are tightly covered and insect-proof.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Cover trash containers/garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Keep boats and canoes drained and covered/overturned. Make sure tarps or other covers do not hold water.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.
  • Pack tree holes and hollow stumps with sand or cement.

There are a number of other steps you can take to defend yourselves against mosquitoes. To learn about treating standing water that can’t be drained and preventing mosquito bites, visit scdhec.gov/mosquitoes/eliminatebreedingareas.