Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Department of Health and Environmental Control says three men from the Midlands have contracted the West Nile virus.
"The new cases are a middle-aged man from Orangeburg County, a middle-aged man from Lexington County, and a middle-aged man from Richland County," said Linda Bell, M.D., Interim State Epidemiologist.
Bell says there was another case of a woman from Charleston County who had the virus.
West Nile is a bird disease that gets passed to humans from infected mosquitoes.
According to DHEC, people bitten could expect the following:
People bitten by an infected mosquito may become ill within 2 to 14 days with flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. Often they experience sensitivity to light and inflammation of the eyelids. Some may have a rash.
Bell says less than one person of people infected get encephalitis, a potentially fatal swelling of the brain.
DHEC recommends citizens pay attention to the "four Ds" as the most effective ways to prevent WNV:
- DEET - Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.
- DRESS - Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.
- DAWN AND DUSK - Exposure to mosquitoes is most common during the early morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent at that time. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.
- DRAIN - Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. If you have a pond, use mosquito fish (available from your local mosquito and vector control agency) or commercially available products to eliminate mosquito larvae.