3 Midlands Men Test Positive for West Nile
A total of four people in South Carolina have tested positive for West Nile virus this year, DHEC officials say.
Three people in the Midlands recently tested positive for West Nile virus, state Department of Health and Environmental Control officials said Monday.
The three middle-aged men — one each from Richland, Lexington and Orangeburg counties — contracted the disease after being bitten by infected mosquitoes, said Linda Bell, the interim state epidemiologist.
A Charleston County woman was the first to test positive for the virus this year, DHEC officials announced last week.
West Nile virus is a bird disease transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on infected birds.
“The most important step anyone can take to prevent West Nile virus infection is to protect against being bitten by a mosquito,” Bell said.
The virus was first detected in South Carolina in 2002, according to DHEC. Cases of the virus in humans usually flare up during the summer and fall.
Symptoms can show up within two to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and include fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and occasionally nausea and vomiting.
While the virus can cause a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, Bell said, less than one percent of the people infected experience the swelling.
In addition to the human cases, DHEC officials say West Nile virus has been detected in one dead crow, one horse, and one mosquito pool.
Avoiding West Nile:
- DEET – Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
- DRESS – Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.
- DAWN AND DUSK – Exposure to mosquitoes is most common during the early morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent at that time. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
- DRAIN – Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. If you have a pond, use mosquito fish (available from your local mosquito and vector control agency) or commercially available products to eliminate mosquito larvae.