BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and officials from Beaufort County announced Friday that a few samples of mosquitoes trapped in Beaufort County have tested positive for West Nile virus.
"Identifying mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in our state is not uncommon," Chris Evans, Ph.D. and DHEC's staff entomologist, said in a press release. "A positive identification should serve as a reminder of the importance of preventing mosquito bites. It's the most important step you can take to prevent the spread of illness from mosquitoes to humans."
What are the symptoms of West Nile virus disease?
- 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.
DHEC recommends residents pay attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting.
- Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.
- Exposure to mosquitoes is most common at night and during the early morning. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.
- 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.
Dead birds can help DHEC and local partners track West Nile virus. Residents can report the finding of dead birds to DHEC. Learn how here. Also, residents and visitors can use a Beaufort County Mosquito Control app to report dead birds. Learn how here or here. DHEC is currently accepting submission of birds through Nov. 30, 2017.