SC reports first West Nile Virus death of 2022 season

In 2022 to date, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has...
In 2022 to date, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed 11 human cases of West Nile virus(Pixnio)
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 5:11 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2022 at 11:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control said one person in South Carolina has died from the West Nile Virus, marking the first death from the virus in the state this year.

DHEC has confirmed 11 human cases of the virus so far this year. Of those 11 cases, nine are from the Midlands area, with six of those in Richland County. The other two cases the agency reported were confirmed in the Upstate, DHEC says.

Along with the human cases, West Nile virus has been detected in 5 birds and 38 mosquito samples so far this year.

The risk of serious illness or death from West Nile virus is low. Less than 1 percent of people infected develop a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis.

Most people 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, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. They may often experience sensitivity to light and inflammation of the eyelids, and some may have a rash.

“If you develop fever or other symptoms after being bitten by a mosquito, you should contact your health care provider immediately,” South Carolina State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said.

DHEC stresses the importance of paying attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus:

  • 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.