The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says fortunately here we are having what they call a normal season. But the department did see its first case of West Nile virus earlier this month in the Pee Dee region.

South Carolina is home to at least 61 different species of mosquitoes, which can carry diseases like West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

But the department says all it takes is a quick spray to protect yourself. Insect repellent with DEET, Picardin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective in keeping the mosquitoes off your skin. 

The department also recommends covering up as much as possible when you’re outdoors and removing standing water from around your home. 

As of right now, there has only been 1 case of a human infection of West Nile reported in SC. This time last year there were 11 people infected. 

The state’s epidemiologist explained the risks associated with West Nile. 

“Fortunately most people infected with West Nile virus do not become ill. approximately 1 in 5 people will develop fever with other symptoms. and less than 1% of people can develop severe neurological disorders that can lead to death,” said Dr. Linda Bell.

Since the 2015 flood DHEC has been working with local governments to update mosquito control programs. 

Right now, DHEC is in the process of putting out black cups in neighborhoods across the state to map mosquito species that can carry another deadly disease.. the Zika Virus. 

The black cups will act as breeding grounds for the mosquitoes. The eggs will then be collected and sent to a lab in Columbia to be tested. 

DHEC is asking residents to not disturb the cups. The data will be used to identify areas that may be at high risk of diseases like Zika, so they can develop unique treatment plans for those areas.