Anderson County officials say they are intensely spraying for mosquitos near a park after a resident became South Carolina’s first West Nile death this year.
A county spokesman told the Independent-Mail newspaper that areas in a one-mile radius around Cater Lake Park have been sprayed twice since the death. Cater Lake is a small pond in the town of Anderson, located just northeast of downtown.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) did not identify the victim when it announced the death Thursday, beyond saying it occurred in Anderson County. DHEC said it has confirmed seven human cases of West Nile virus, along with 10 birds and 55 mosquito samples.
County and city employees went door-to-door in a ½-mile radius of the affected area to notify residents and provide educational brochures about West Nile and plans for aerial spraying.
Health officials say most people infected with West Nile have no symptoms. About one in five infected victims become ill within two to 14 days with symptoms including fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. People stricken by the virus may often experience sensitivity to light and inflammation of the eyelids, and some may have a rash. It can occasionally cause brain swelling that leads to severe symptoms such as convulsions, limb paralysis and even death.
Residents are reminded of 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, 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.