DHEC Announces Positive Tests for West Nile Virus in 1 Human, 3 Mosquito Samples in the Pee Dee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has announced that one human and three mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in the Pee Dee Region.
"Identifying mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in our state is not uncommon," said Dr. Chris Evans, State Public Health Entomologist. "A positive identification should serve as a reminder of the importance of preventing mosquito bites."
With DHEC announcing on August 6 that a person in South Carolina was reported to be sick from West Nile virus — the first case for the 2021 mosquito season — it is important to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites.
Some effective ways to do this include:
- Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, old car tires, rain gutters, and pet bowls.
- Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone according to label instructions.
- Wearing light-colored clothing to cover skin reduces the risk of bites.
- Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
"Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms," said Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist. "The risk of serious illness such as encephalitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain, occurs in less than one percent of people infected." She also recommends contacting your health care provider if you develop fever or other symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito.
What are the symptoms of West Nile virus disease? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- No symptoms in most people. Most people (70-80%) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.
- 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 on West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, along with strategies to protect yourself, please visit our website at scdhec.gov/mosquitoes.