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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2017

S.C. DHEC updates 2017 West Nile Virus information

COLUMBIA, SC - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has confirmed eleven human cases of West Nile virus in South Carolina so far this year. One of the eleven, an individual in Anderson County, died last month. The virus has also been detected in one horse, 13 birds, and 75 mosquito samples.

Human cases have been confirmed in Anderson, Beaufort, Greenville, Horry, Richland, Union, and York counties.

Infected animal or mosquito samples have been confirmed in Anderson, Beaufort, Colleton, Greenville, Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, Saluda, and York counties.

Infected birds or mosquito samples have been confirmed in Beaufort, Greenville, Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, Saluda, Union, and York counties.

The risk of serious illness or death from West Nile virus is low. Most people (8 out of 10) 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, diarrhea, rash, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. About 1 in 150 people infected develop more severe symptoms such as a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis, or inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, known as meningitis. Other serious symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, and paralysis.


When West Nile virus is confirmed in a local area, DHEC works with local officials and makes recommendations based on guidelines for controlling mosquito populations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including:

  • Spraying for adult mosquitoes near the reported case;
  • Removing mosquito habitats such as standing water ranging from wastewater areas to bird baths, old tires, or any container that holds water;
  • Treating mosquito larvae, especially in storm drains with leaf litter or any other containers that cannot be turned over or discarded;
  • Conducting door-to-door visits to provide information pamphlets and assist residents with looking for areas where mosquitoes may reproduce.

Individuals should 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.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, clogged gutters, buckets, neglected swimming pools, plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover yard items, pool covers, wheel barrows, children's toys, birdbaths, old tires, rain gutters, pet bowls, and any other water-holding containers.
  • Wear light-colored clothing to cover your skin and reduce the risk of bites.

For more information about preventing mosquito bites and the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, go to www.scdhec.gov/mosquitoes. Learn more about West Nile virus at www.scdhec.gov/westnile.

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DHEC Media Relations
media@dhec.sc.gov
(803) 898-7769