US Air Force lab tests indicate mosquito samples have tested positive for the West Nile virus on Joint Base Charleston Naval Weapons Station, according to a release from the naval station in Goose Creek.
Recent lab results from the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine confirmed the samples collected on the Naval Weapons Station north of Charleston were positive for the West Nile virus.
So far, no cases of West Nile virus infection have been reported in South Carolina. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says usually only about 1 in 5 people infected with West Nile Virus show symptoms. The CDC says less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.
JB Charleston officials say they are conducting additional mosquito surveillance in the area. The Naval Weapons Station is located close to several rivers, marshland and swamps. The climate tends to be humid and subtropical, bringing a lot of rainfall to the area. This makes Charleston the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
U.S. Air Force First Lt., Alisha Harris, told South Carolina Radio Network they test mosquitoes weekly at the base. “What we do here is that we trap mosquitoes and we set about six traps a week. We set three in the morning, three in the afternoon,” said Harris.
The mosquitoes are sent to the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for testing.
The 628th Medical Group’s public health office is responsible for monitoring mosquito populations for diseases that can spread to humans on JB Charleston.
To date, none of the mosquitoes submitted for Zika testing have tested positive.