COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) on Monday reported the first SC death attributable to the West Nile virus so far this year.

According to DHEC, 11 human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in the state so far, six of which were isolated to an outbreak in Richland County.

The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites.

While less than one percent of infections are fatal, roughly 20% of those infected with the virus experience symptoms such as fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, inflammation of the eyelids, and rashes.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell encourages anyone who develops such symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito to seek medical attention immediately.

DHEC provided the following tips for avoiding mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone, 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.