ANDERSON COUNTY — An Anderson County individual has died from West Nile Virus, the first such occurrence in South Carolina this year.
In 2017, the Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed seven human cases of West Nile Virus, along with detection in 10 birds and 55 mosquito samples.
The risk of serious illness or death from West Nile Virus is low. Less than one percent of people infected develop a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis.
Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms. About one in five people infected becomes ill within two to 14 days with symptoms including fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. They may often experience sensitivity to light and inflammation of the eyelids, and some may have a rash.
“If you develop fever or other symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, you should contact your health care provider,” said Dr. Melissa Overman, S.C. Assistant State Epidemiologist.
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division learned of the confirmed case of West Nile Virus from DHEC.
It is unknown how or where the individual contracted the disease. However, immediately after notification by DHEC, Emergency Management, in close coordination with the City of Anderson, began implementing mitigation and abatement efforts to reduce mosquito infestation near the affected individual’s residence.
County and city employees went door-to-door in a half-mile radius of the affected area to notify residents and provide educational brochures about West Nile Virus as well as plans for areal spraying in accordance with DHEC-prescribed action.
Mosquito eradication spraying has been conducted twice within a one-mile radius and a final spraying is scheduled to occur in the next seven to 10 days.
Additionally, properties that had standing water — typical breeding grounds for mosquitoes — including old kiddie pools, puddles in yards, and other types of water-collecting debris, were identified and cleared.
Residents are reminded of the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile Virus:
• 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.
For additional information regarding the West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, as well as other important tips, LIKE @AndersonCountyES on Facebook or visit the following websites: