West Nile Detected In Lowcountry, DHEC Wants Public’s Help


Columbia, S.C. (WOLO)– West Nile has been detected in South Carolina for the first time this year.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control and Beaufort County officials confirm mosquitoes in the Lowcountry have tested positive for West Nile virus.
Residents of Columbia say they think there are more mosquitoes buzzing around than usual.

“I mean I can’t go outside for more than 20 minutes without just getting eat up by mosquitoes, and same thing at our apartment as well. So it’s pretty bad,” Justin Stevens said, a Columbia resident.

“Having an exceptionally busy season. I think a little busier than we expected it to be. I’ve had constantly getting reports from people on the phone saying mosquitoes have been worse than ever this year,” Nicole Blizzard said, the office manager for Mosquito Joe said.

Experts say 2 tablespoons of water or the amount of water to fill a bottle cap can be enough to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

“Prevention is really the best way to avoid West Nile virus. Preventing those mosquito bites. Wearing insect repellent, you know, long pants, long shirts, long sleeved shirts if you can. Making sure you’re using screens to make sure mosquitoes aren’t getting into your home… and clearing any standing water on your property,” Teresa Foo said, a medical consultant with DHEC.

Even checking places you might not think water could be hiding is an important way to keep mosquitoes at bay.

“Have your gutters cleaned. The gutters can be a real problem, a lot of times people don’t think about that and they’re actually coming from above,” Blizzard said.

Since West Nile has been detected in Beaufort, some Columbia residents say they’ll take more precautions when it comes to mosquitos.

COLEMAN: “With concerns to my daughter, I’d like to make sure I put a little more bug spray on her… they like her anyway. She seems to have the kind of blood they’re attracted to, so, I try to spray her down regularly. But it’ll make me be more cautious about doing that,” Austin Coleman said, a Columbia father of an 8-year-old girl.

But some say it won’t affect they way they enjoy the outdoors at all.

“As far as being super precautions about it… I don’t think so. I think the rarity of getting that is kind of low low… so I’ll take my chances like everyone else does,” Stevens said.

For more information about preventing mosquito bites and the spread of West Nile virus, visit CDC’s website here.

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