Tag Archives: mosquito-borne illnesses

It’s Spring: Time To Protect Yourself And Your Family From Mosquitoes

Spring is here, following yet another warm winter in South Carolina. As you and your family are heading outside, remember that now is one of the most important times to start thinking about and taking action aimed at protecting your love ones from the pesky insects — even if mosquitoes are the “unofficial state bird!”

Mosquitoes known to carry diseases

South Carolina is home to at least 61 different species of mosquito. Anyone who has lived here for any length of time has encountered the itch-inducing menace on an almost daily basis during summer and fall. Hunters have literally been chased out of the woods, never to return (OK, maybe not literally)! Most of the time, we’re only concerned with the pain or itchiness from a mosquito’s bite – we don’t worry about getting sick. It is true, however, that mosquitoes can transmit disease.

Some mosquitoes in South Carolina have been known to carry West Nile virusEastern equine encephalitis virus, and other viruses or parasites. Although there has been heightened concern recently over Zika virus, no confirmed cases have occurred in South Carolina from South Carolina mosquitoes. All known cases of Zika in South Carolina, to date, have been travel or sexual contact related.

Do your part to help control mosquitoes

Joining forces and doing our part to combat the threat of mosquito-borne viruses and parasites is critical. We must be vigilant about controlling the mosquito population in our own yards and communities, while protecting ourselves from bites. Remove, empty, or fill any objects in your yard or home that might hold water in order to eliminate breeding sites.

In surveying your property for mosquito breeding spots, leave literally no stone unturned. Drain, fill, or get rid of areas that hold water.

  • Clear out weeds, leaves, dirt, and other debris from pipes.clean-gutters-istock_000006269745medium
  • Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Regularly clean out rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, old appliances, and plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools, etc.
  • Make sure that all permanent water containers such as wells, septic tanks, cisterns, water tanks, and cesspools are tightly covered and insect-proof.
  • Change the water in bird baths and empty and clean out children’s wading pools at least once a week.
  • Clean out and change the water in your pet’s water bowl or trough every day.
  • Larger troughs for livestock should be cleaned out on a weekly basis.
  • Cover trash containers and garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.

Avoid mosquito bites

If you are outside, wear protective clothing. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts are more repellent_iStock_26736429_XXLARGEprotective than you might think. You may also choose to apply a mosquito repellent — either a spray or wipe — per manufacturer instructions to help shield you from bites. Avoid wearing perfume or scented products. Also, keep car windows rolled up and garage doors closed at night. Ensure all of your windows and doors have screens or seal properly.

Visit DHEC’s mosquito information page for additional information about protecting yourself from mosquito bites, eliminating breeding areas, contacting local mosquito control, and more.

Beware: Mosquitoes are still active

Although the weather is turning cooler, don’t be fooled. The pesky mosquito is still with us and will be until temperatures are consistently cold enough to drive the insect away.

Cold snaps can help reduce the likelihood of excessive mosquito breeding. That’s because mosquitoes are cold-blooded and do not thrive in cooler temperatures. Mosquitoes shut down for the winter.

But until that happens, it’s important to take steps to reduce mosquito populations and reduce your family’s exposure to these insects, which can spread diseases such as West Nile, Zika and others.

Begin by reducing mosquito breeding habitats.

It only takes as few as five days for water in containers as small as a bottle cap to become active breeding sites for mosquitoes.

Routinely empty any containers on your property that are holding water:

  • Pool covers
  • Flower pots
  • Boat covers
  • Tires
  • Pet bowls
  • Toys
  • Tarps
  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Trim back thick shrubbery and overgrown grass on your property.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets.

Protect you and your family from mosquitoes and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Repair damaged or broken doors and screens.
  • Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Close garage doors at night.
  • Wear insect repellent. The Environmental Protection Agency has a web-based tool to help you find the proper insect repellent for your time spent outdoors.

If you have mosquito problems in your area, please visit DHEC’s mosquito information page and click on “Local Mosquito Control” for a list of local mosquito control agency contacts.

DHEC in the News: West Nile, septic tanks, abandoned boats

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

DHEC: West Nile and Mosquitos Still a Problem in SC

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)–The calendar may say October but the temperatures have felt more like the middle of summer and that’s why State Health and City officials don’t want you to let your guard down when it comes to mosquitos.

DHEC says there has been an increase in the number of mosquitos infected with West Nile this year.

According to DHEC, human cases of West Nile have been confirmed in Anderson, Beaufort, Greenville, Horry, Laurens, Lexington, Richland, Spartanburg, Union, and York counties.

General Interest

Plan underway to eliminate septic tanks, decrease sewage leaks

In a move to stop sewage from leaking into our local waterways, a local town is offering financial assistance for people to get rid of septic tanks.

It’s a picture perfect place to paddle board, but be careful not to ingest the water around Shem Creek.

Tired of seeing Hilton Head’s Broad Creek used as a ‘Dumpster’? 3 residents step up to remove abandoned boats.

After waiting nearly a year, a group of Hilton Head Island residents are taking it upon themselves to clean up boats that were abandoned in the Broad Creek.

After Hurricane Matthew destroyed Palmetto Bay Marina last year, the number of boats moored in the Broad Creek nearly doubled. The legal process to deem the boats abandoned only started a couple weeks ago and will take months to complete.

DHEC in the News: West Nile, Flu, mold complaint involving food

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

Case of West Nile virus confirmed in city of Spartanburg

A case of a person infected with West Nile virus has been confirmed within the Spartanburg city limits, according to the city of Spartanburg.

It hasn’t been determined whether the person contracted the mosquito-borne infection in Spartanburg, according to an announcement sent out by the city Monday afternoon.

Dr. Kenneth Perry joins ‘Good Morning Charleston’ to talk flu prevention

With flu season just underway, DHEC reported flu numbers in Charleston are more extensive than past numbers; 93 cases of influenza in over 22 counties as of October 7.

Today on “Good Morning Charleston,” Dr. Kenneth Perry from Trident Medical Center sat down with Tessa Spencer to talk flu prevention.

DHEC investigating mold complaint involving food at Marlboro County school

Marlboro County, S.C. (WPDE) — The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said it’s investigating after receiving a complaint about mold found on a banana at Bennettsville Intermediate School (BIS), according to Tommy Crosby, Public Information Officer S.C. Dept. of Health & Environmental Control.

Marlboro County School Board has heard growing concerns from parents and some teachers at BIS since this past Spring.

Rid Your Property Of Standing Water To Combat Mosquitoes

Standing water caused by rain and flooding can be prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which can spread harmful diseases such as West Nile, Zika and more.

Be sure to inspect areas around your homes and businesses and take to reduce mosquito populations and lessen the chance of you or others being exposed to these pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.

Below are some steps you can take to rid areas of mosquito breeding grounds.

Eliminate places where mosquitoes breed

One of the most important steps in controlling mosquitoes is to identify all of the places where water can accumulate on your property and eliminate them as possible breeding grounds.

  • 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.
  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fix leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.
  • Cover trash containers/garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating.
  • Keep boats and canoes drained and covered/overturned.
  • Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them.
  • Pack tree holes and hollow stumps with sand or cement.

Avoid mosquito bites and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Apply EPA-approved insect repellent to protect you during time spent outdoors.
  • Repair damaged or broken doors and screens.
  • Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Close garage doors at night.

If you have mosquito problems in your area, visit DHEC’s mosquito information page and click on “Local Mosquito Control” in the menu box for a list of local mosquito control agency contacts.

Learn more about eliminating mosquito breeding sites and preventing mosquito bites at the DHEC website.