The first case of a person in Horry County infected this summer by the West Nile Virus has been reported by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Horry County officials were notified about the infection in the Little River area after it was confirmed Aug. 26. Notice to Horry County residents came through a posting on the DHEC website last week.
Mary-Kathryn Craft, senior public information officer for DHEC, said confirmation of the Horry County case was also provided to the Charleston Post and Courier, Sumter Item, and television stations in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville.
That area will be sprayed for mosquitoes to prevent the virus from spreading. Traps also were set to catch mosquitoes, and the samples were sent to DHEC for testing, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman.
Robert Yanity, DHEC spokesman, said the results of those tests are pending.
Statewide, four cases of the West Nile Virus have been reported this summer with one case in Dorchester County and two cases in Richland County, in addition to the Horry County case.
Additionally, 49 cases of travel-related Zika virus have been confirmed in the state. No Horry County residents have been infected with the virus, however an out-of-state tourist visiting the Plantation Point area was diagnosed with the virus, prompting county officials to implement their Zika virus response plan.
Once the travel-related Zika case was reported, county officials went door-to-door notifying neighbors within a 1,000 foot radius of the affected residence.
County officials also emptied containers that held standing water and used hand-held foggers to kill mosquitoes.
While the protocol for a reported case of Zika is to notify nearby residents, that does not apply for cases of the West Nile virus, Bourcier said.
“The procedures did not call for going door-to-door, we just sprayed that vicinity once a week (and will continue) for three to four weeks,” Bourcier said.
The symptoms of West Nile virus vary, with most people not experiencing any illness, DHEC says on its website. However, those who experience symptoms can develop fevers, headaches, muscle pain and nausea or vomiting.
49 travel-related Zika cases in S.C.
These conditions can be accompanied by sensitivity to light, inflammation of the eyelids or a rash.
Less than one percent of those infected can develop a potentially fatal swelling of the brain known as encephalitis.
There is no cure for the virus, which is often treated with flu remedies.
The Zika virus is typically spread through the bite of some Aedes mosquitoes. However, the virus can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby, as well as through sexual contact and blood transfusions. One Zika case in South Carolina was spread through sexual contact, Yanity said.