Richland County (PalmettoTimes) – Officials of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) have discovered the West Nile virus in a dead bird in Richland County.
According to the DHEC’s staff entomologist, Chris Evans “Identifying birds carrying West Nile Virus in our state is not uncommon”. He said that birds pass on the virus to mosquitoes. As a result, it is important to prevent mosquito bites.
The DHEC took the bird from downtown Columbia on Sumter Street. This area is one that witnesses a lot of traffic since it has a lot of businesses and residential buildings.
According to Evans:
“Mosquitoes that carry this virus are typically active at night, but can also be active at dusk and dawn and in shady areas during the day. DHEC partners with cities and counties across the state to help trap and identify mosquitoes carrying diseases that can be spread to people.”
This discovery of the West Nile virus has made the City launch an aggressive campaign against mosquitoes in certain parts of the city. According to the Mayor, Steve Benjamin, the resurgence of the virus has led to overnight mosquito spraying in parts of the city.
This year, there has only been one recorded transmission to a person – in Beaufort County.
Last year, the DHEC documented that it discovered the virus in eight people. About three of the infected people were in Richland County. According to the DHEC records, the state discovered six mosquito pools where infected mosquitoes in Richland county bred. The other affected counties were Horry and Dorchester.
The year 2012 was one when the DHEC recorded one of the biggest outbreaks of the virus. That year, they documented about 42 human transmission of the virus.
People are also advised to empty all bodies of standing water in their houses as this might be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
The city plans to spray a two mile radius of the area where the dead bird was found. The spraying would be done at night, when most people would not be out and about. Regardless, city officials say that people should stay indoors when there is spraying.
According to the Center for disease control, mosquitoes can spread the virus when they bite infected people. However, about 70 to 80 percent of the people infected with the virus do not develop symptoms. Also, the infected persons cannot spread the virus to uninfected persons.