Tag Archives: virus

Avoiding Mosquitoes After Rain, Flooding

Rain and flooding of the sort South Carolina has endured recently can saturate areas and leave standing water, which has the potential to become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes can carry viruses such as West Nile. That is why it is important that we all do our part to reduce mosquito populations and protect our families from exposure to these pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.

Reduce 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
    • Tires
    • Pet bowls
    • Toys
    • Tarpsclean-gutters-istock_000006269745medium
  • 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.SprayHands-Zika2

If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, applying a mosquito repellent can help protect you from bites.

Visit the DHEC website for more information about protecting yourself against mosquitoes. You can also visit the site to find contact information for the local mosquito control program in your area.

DHEC in the News: Schools and e-cigarettes, trapping mosquitoes, opioid crisis

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

40 percent of SC school districts don’t have tobacco rules that cover e-cigarettes

As e-cigarettes gain in popularity among teenagers, many South Carolina school districts have not updated policies to discourage their use.

More than 100,000 minors in South Carolina will one day die prematurely from a smoking-related disease, research shows. Eighty-three percent of South Carolinians who smoke started before they turned 18.

Don’t touch that cup! DHEC using special cups to trap mosquitoes

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – You may see some unusual looking cups popping up around your neighborhood soon, and South Carolina health officials say you need to just leave them be.

That’s because the cups are being used to trap mosquitoes for a special study conducted by DHEC to track a specific type of mosquito that’s capable of transmitting the Zika virus.

S.C. opioid crisis has not abated

South Carolina recently got bad news on the level of the opioid abuse crisis in the state.

For the third year in a row, the number of opioid-involved overdose deaths has increased in the Palmetto State, according to data collected by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. From 2014 to 2017, the total number of deaths related to opioid overdose increased by 47 percent, from 508 to 748 deaths.

World Mosquito Day: Protect Yourself And Your Family

World Mosquito Day (August 20) isn’t a day off for the pesky insects that can transmit diseases. Neither should you take the day off from avoiding bites and ridding your homes and WorldMosquitoDayImageyards of areas where mosquitoes breed.

Mosquitoes can spread diseases such as West Nile. The most common diseases that could potentially be carried by mosquitoes in South Carolina, home to at least 61 different species, include: West NileEastern Equine EncephalitisLa Crosse encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, and dog/cat heartworm.

Although August 20 is the mosquito’s day, so to speak, DHEC urges residents to not feed or house the insects. Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and rid your home and yard of areas where they breed.

Reduce the numbers of adult mosquitoes around your home.

  • Drain, fill or eliminate sites that have standing water.
  • Empty or throw away containers — from bottles and jars to tires and kiddie pools — that have standing water.

Keep mosquitoes outside: Use air conditioning or make sure that you repair and use window/door screens.

Avoid Mosquitoes: Most mosquito species bite during dawn, dusk, twilight hours and night. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.

Wear insect repellent: When used as directed, the proper insect repellent is the BEST way to protect yourself from mosquito bites — even children and pregnant women should protect themselves.

Cover up: When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

So, apply the repellent, empty or get rid of containers in your yard holding water and have a Happy World Mosquito Day.

Click here to learn more about protecting yourself and your home from mosquitoes.

Visit the DHEC website to learn more about mosquitoes and the diseases they can spread.

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.

DHEC offering Free Hepatitis Testing during Hepatitis Awareness Month

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, and while National Hepatitis Testing Day is on May 19, DHEC’s health departments will be providing free testing on May 16.  Know Hepatitis LogosAppointments are encouraged. Please call 1-855-4-SCDHEC (472-3432) to schedule your appointment.

There are many strains of the hepatitis virus but for this year’s Hepatitis Awareness Month DHEC is focusing on Hepatitis A, B, and C, the major causes of contagious liver disease. The department urges anyone who has ever injected drugs, even once, and individuals born between 1945 and 1965, to talk with their healthcare professional about getting tested for hepatitis C and ask if they should be vaccinated for hepatitis A and B.

Hepatitis A is highly contagious. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A may occur in the context of community-wide epidemics, or from exposures to food contaminated with the virus. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. It can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex, needle-sharing by IV drug users or caring for someone who is ill.

Both Hepatitis B and C are usually spread when blood or another body fluid from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hepatitis B and C virus infections cause some people to develop an acute, or short-term, illness, while others develop a chronic, or long-term, illness.

In 2016, there were 33 cases of acute hepatitis B and 457 cases of chronic hepatitis B reported in South Carolina. Hepatitis B cases were on a steady decline nationally after the widespread use of the hepatitis B vaccine, but in recent years that rate of decline has slowed.

Nearly half of people living with the hepatitis C virus have no symptoms and don’t know they are infected. The vast majority of new infections go undiagnosed. In South Carolina, almost 6,000 people were reported with chronic hepatitis C in 2016. Of those, the majority were baby boomers who were born between 1945 and 1965. Baby boomers are six times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than those in other age groups. They are also at a much higher risk of death from the virus.

Nationally, the number of new hepatitis C infections has nearly tripled over five years, reaching a 15-year high. The greatest increases and the highest overall number of cases were among young people ages 20-29 who inject drugs.

Vaccinations are available for hepatitis A and B but not C.

For more information about viral hepatitis and where to get tested visit www.scdhec.gov/ViralHepatitis or call the STD/HIV Hotline at 1-800-322-2437.