DHEC: West Nile Virus Detected in Richland County Bird

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Tuesday that the  West Nile Virus has been detected in a Richland County bird.

According to DHEC, they were notified July 17 of a virus-positive bird taken from Downtown Columbia.

It is important to note, that health officials say, there have been no confirmed transmissions of West Nile virus to humans in Richland County.

Richland County officials announced they will being mosquito spraying operations. “Beginning Monday night and continuing on Wednesday night we are strategically applying adulticide (spray) in a two mile radius from the original location of the bird,” said Tammy Brewer, Director of Richland County Vector Control. “Spraying will begin in this area at night, 1:00 AM to 4:00 AM, in a manner to optimize the efficiency of the area to be covered, with minimal exposure to people.”

According to DHEC, “Identifying birds carrying West Nile virus in our state is not uncommon,” said Chris Evans, Ph.D. and DHEC’s staff entomologist. “Birds pass the virus on to mosquitos, which can then infect humans. Positive identifications serve as an important reminder to preventing mosquito bites. It’s the most important step you can take to prevent the spread of illness from mosquitoes to people.”

“The vast majority of people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms,” said Linda Bell, M.D. and DHEC’s state epidemiologist. “Serious illness such as encephalitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the brain, will only occur in less than one percent of people infected.”

DHEC recommends residents pay attention to the most effective ways to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses:

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.

Officials emphasize the public plays a vital role in controlling the spread of all mosquito-borne diseases.

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