10/2/2012 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1,993 cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) infections have been reported in humans in 2012. This is the highest number of WNV cases seen in the United States since 1999. The majority of these cases have been from Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Michigan. Currently, Sumter County, S.C. does not have any positive human, animal, bird, or mosquito pools for WNV.
WNV is transmitted primarily by infected mosquitoes during the summer and fall seasons. Although many people will not have symptoms of an infection, others may have a range of symptoms.
Symptoms usually develop between three to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Mild symptoms include: fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands and skin rash that can be present on the chest, stomach and back. These symptoms can last from days to weeks.
More serious symptoms include: high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
The key to WNV is prevention. Listed below are the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) recommendations for WNV prevention:
· When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
· Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
· Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
· Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.
Last but not least, it is up to everyone to protect oneself, our families and the mission of Shaw AFB.
Shaw's Public Health Flight conducts vector surveillance for the base. Depending upon the number of mosquitoes caught, entomology is contacted to apply pesticides outside of their normal locations. In addition, the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron's entomology section applies pesticides and larvicide throughout the base where pools of water are identified after rainfall, which reduces breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Please follow prevention recommendations listed above and contact your medical provider if you are experiencing these symptoms. You can visit the Department of Health and Environmental Control website for statistics in surrounding counties, the CDC website to get facts on WNV, or contact Public Health at 803.895.6193 if you have further questions.