Four cases of West Nile virus found in South Carolina

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(WCBD) — Four cases of the West Nile Virus have been confirmed this year. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed:

  • 1 in Dorchester County
  • 1 in Horry County
  • 2 in Richland County

West Nile virus is a disease transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on infected birds. West Nile virus is common in birds, humans and other animals in Africa, Australia, Eastern Europe, west Asia and the Middle East.

It has been detected in mosquitoes in multiple locations throughout the state of South Carolina.

According to DHEC, 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. Often they experience sensitivity to light and inflammation of the eyelids. Some may have a rash.

The risk of serious illness is low. Less than one percent of people infected develop a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis.

There is no specific cure for West Nile Virus. In mild cases, health officials say you should use the same remedies you would for other viruses, such as the flu: drinking plenty of water and fluids, resting in bed, and taking medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve fever and discomfort. In more severe cases treatment may include hospitalization, respiratory support and intravenous therapy.

West Nile encephalitis cannot be passed from person to person. The only way to get the virus is from the bite of an infected mosquito.

A key step for prevention is reducing the breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Be sure to empty any and all containers that hold standing water, and keep them emptied.

You can reduce the possibility of this West Nile Virus spreading by taking a few other simple steps to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
  • Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.
  • Exposure to mosquitoes is most common during the early morning.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, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls.

CLICK HERE for more information and resources about West Nile Virus.

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