DHEC’s Role — Controlling Mosquito-Borne Diseases
DHEC helps protect South Carolina residents from diseases spread by mosquitoes, especially West Nile virus. A number of DHEC staff members spend at least a portion of their time working on this issue, including our medical entomologist, physicians, disease surveillance and control specialists, veterinarians, lab technicians, environmental inspectors, and public health educators. Among other responsibilities, they:
- Educate residents and health care professionals about the danger to human and animal health posed by disease-carrying mosquitoes
- Teach South Carolinians how to keep mosquitoes from breeding in yards and containers and how to safely protect themselves from mosquito bites
- Track human cases of West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in South Carolina to identify outbreaks and patterns. Geographic Information System (GIS) software is used to map mosquito-borne virus cases detected among birds, humans, horses, and mosquitoes to help identify clusters of the disease.
- Test blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples sent in by health care providers for arboviruses
- Test dead Blue Jays and crows for West Nile virus to help predict potential outbreaks of the disease among humans (You can help by submitting these kinds of dead birds for testing.)
- Routinely collect, test, and analyze samples of mosquitoes collected from different areas around the state
- Collaborate with Clemson University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Center to test horses, donkeys and mules, as well as other mammals, for West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis virus
- Provide mosquito disease data and technical assistance and guidance to local mosquito control programs to help guide their operations
- Collaborate with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to track and identify mosquito-borne diseases
For more information please contact your local Mosquito Control Program.