First SC West Nile Virus death reported in Anderson Co

Dead birds, plenty of mosquitoes indicate West Nile virus will stick around awhile

SAN BERNARDINO San Bernardino County Public Health officials announced Thursday the first West Nile Virus death of the 2017 season.

Health officials say all four people were sickened between August 6 and August 11. All four people have been hospitalized with neurologic disease.

"The virus is here, and (historically) we know that WNv-carrying mosquitoes will be around well into the fall, " said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health with the EOHU.

Health officials said residents should keep in mind to wear insect repellent and clothing covering the entire body to help prevent bites.

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In addition to the four human cases, five MI blood donors have had WNV detected in their blood.

DHEC says a "mosquito pool" is defined as a collection of mosquitoes, usually one to 30 specimens, that were pooled together for testing purposes and consists of the same mosquito species that were collected from the same location on the same date.

Canton-Potsdam Hospital reports that it recently treated and released a patient who tested positive for West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes that carry WNV tend to bite in the early morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent at this time. "Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle ache".

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There were two reported West Nile cases and three cases of St. Louis Encephalitis, a similar mosquito-borne illness, in 2016. More mosquitoes, means more problems for you.

An individual in Anderson County has died due to West Nile Virus, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. "The blood test for West Nile virus takes more than a week to be confirmed, so we'd want to start treatment for other possible explanations", he said. Although it may be hard to do when it's hot, wearing long sleeves, long trousers and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

While most people sickened by West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms, health officials say about 20 percent suffer mild illness with fever and about 1 in 150 people become severely ill.

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