Health officials are warning residents that the West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes trapped in the Shandon / Five Points area of downtown Columbia.
Although rarely fatal, about 1 in 5 people infected with West Nile will become ill within two days to two weeks. Common symptoms include fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain and occasionally nausea and vomiting, or symptoms of the more severe form of illness: headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, seizures or paralysis.
Four cases of West Nile virus infection have been reported in South Carolina this year. Two of those cases were in Richland County, one in Dorchester County and one in Horry County, state health officials said.
Less than 1 percent of people infected will develop serious, even fatal swelling of the brain called encephalitis.
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At greatest risk for serious illness are people over 60 and people with compromised immune systems because of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease or people who have received an organ transplant.
After infected mosquitoes were discovered in the Five Points area Tuesday, the county “sprayed areas around Shandon, Rosewood, Five Points and the Vista in our efforts to control these mosquitoes,” said Tammy Brewer, director of Richland County Vector Control.
TO PREVENT MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLESS:
· Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting.
· Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.
· Exposure to mosquitoes is most common at night and during the early morning. Some species bite during the day, especially in wooded or other shaded areas. Avoid exposure during these times and in these areas.
· 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.
SOURCE: SC DHEC