Richland County beating back mosquitoes after West Nile is found

Updated: Jul. 16, 2019 at 6:54 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Richland County officials are warning residents to take action after West Nile was found in Forest Acres and St. Andrews.

Officials say it comes down to you helping as well by emptying containers on your property that might hold water.

Barbra Salmons is heeding that advice. While speaking to her, we spotted a container of standing water that helps breed mosquitoes. She quickly decided to dump it out.

Salmons routinely checks on her son, who lives in Forest Acres and is recovering from a medical condition. She is concerned about his health.

She’s concerned for his health.

“Yes, very much concerned about everyone’s health cause West Nile is not a very good thing to have,” Salmons said.

Tammy Brewer with Richland County Vector Control says the county is moving forward with spraying.

“We are conducting spray missions at night, we’ve already done at least two,” Brewer said.

Brewer adds the county has seen West Nile before.

“I’ve had reports of human cases where there have been multiple human incidents of West Nile. We have been fortunate, there have been no fatalities yet,” Brewer said.

Dr. Lachin Hatemi with Veritas Health Group, Providence Hospital, broke down some of the symptoms.

“The main symptom is fever, high fever, body aches, headache, muscle pain, skin rash, and confusion. Actually, there are certain cases that end up in encephalitis, brain damage, and death,” Hatemi said.

While the county continues to beat back the mosquitoes, residents like Barbara Salmons say they will do what they can too.

“And wearing long sleeves and long pants if I can,” Salmons said.

Officials say to wear light-colored clothing, use mosquito repellent and limit times outdoors when mosquitoes can be more active like early morning, or dusk.

We also reached out to the city of Columbia to get an update on mosquito control efforts within the city. They sent us a statement saying in part:

“As concerns grow over the recent discovery of West Nile virus in Richland County, the City of Columbia will continue to collaborate with Richland County Vector Control to monitor any and all overlapping areas of the City and County to combat the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.”

This year Columbia has not had any West Nile positive test results.

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