July 31, 2007
AIKEN CTY, S.C.---The West Nile season is off to a fast start. An Aiken County man has South Carolina's first confirmed case of the virus.
Doctors found out the man had it after he donated blood. There's no word on when the man gave blood, but the test results just came back today. He didn't even know it...he had no symptoms.
The man has a mild form of the disease.
Across the country, the CDC says the mosquito-borne bug has made 122 people sick and killed 3 this year.
No cases have been reported in Georgia.
Researchers say this year is looking a lot like 2003, which was the worst year on record.
Here is some information about West Nile and how you can avoid it from Clair Boatwright with the Department of Health and Environmental Concerns:
80% of the people who are bitten by an infected mosquito don't know - they have an immunity forever. Most of the remaining people will develop mild flu-like symptoms which pass after time, but 1 in 150 might experience West Nile neuroinvasive disease. WNND is a more severe illness involving infection in the brain. People over the age of 50 are more at risk to develop WNND, which can cause death. There is no treatment - all that can be done is to make the person comfortable. There is no vaccine for humans.
There are three things that can be done: Reduction (cleaning gutters, eliminating stagnant water); Avoidance (try to stay indoors at dawn and dusk) and Protection (long pants, long sleeves, bug spray). When checking for stagnant water, water becomes stagnant in approximately 7-10 days, so make sure to eliminate it before then.
Surveillance is a key. If you see pools with mosquitoes, call mosquito control. Also, if you find a dead bird, check the DHEC web site for instructions on preserving it for analysis.