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.
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
We have a number of resources available for you to use on West Nile Virus and on how to protect both yourself and your home. The YouTube videos are also available in original format should you want to use them.
For When it comes to protecting citizens from mosquitoes and the various illnesses the pesky insects can spread, local governments and residents themselves provide the first line of defense.
This is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week (June 25 – July 1), which is a good time to educate residents about mosquitoes and the diseases they carry and to urge everyone to do their part by protecting themselves and their homes from the potential spread of Zika virus as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses.
Be vigilant about protecting yourself from mosquito bites and ridding your homes and yards of containers where mosquitoes breed.
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.
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.
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.