First SC West Nile case found in Aiken County man

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News 12 at 11 o'clock, July 31, 2007.

AIKEN CTY, S.C.---The first case of West Nile was South Carolina is found in an Aiken County man. It was discovered through a routine blood screening when a donor tried to give blood at the Shepeard Community Blood Center two weeks ago. It was the first time a donor tested positive since the blood center began testing for the virus in 2003.

Officials say the man has a mild non-neuroinvasive form of the virus, which is why he didn't have any symptoms. "He found out of the blue, he's a healthy person," said Dr. Volker Dube CEO of Shepeard.

Officials are not releasing his name or information as to where he could've contracted the disease but News 12 has learned the donor is from the New Ellenton area. Dr. Jim Wilde with MCG says there's no reason to be alarmed. "Even if you have it we have no treatment for it, it goes away by itself in almost all cases because your immune system is fighting it off," he said.

Experts say 80% of those who are infected won't show any signs, and only one in 150 will get a serious form of the disease that could lead to death. Symptoms primarily involve headaches, fevers and fatigue.

Across the country, the Center for Disease Control says the the mosquito-born bug has made 122 people sick and killed three this year. Researchers say this year is looking a lot like 2003, which was the worst year on record.

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