Spraying again today
WARE SHOALS: A second spraying for mosquitos in the southwestern part of Laurens County will occur TODAY (Thursday, October 26), per the recommendation of DHEC due to a confirmed case of West Nile virus.
This spraying will be conducted out of caution and concern for the public’s safety.
PREVIOUS: Ware Shoals area is cautioned, spraying battles West Nile Virus
By Vic MacDonald
Authorities have confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in the Ware Shoals area.
It is not contagious by human-to-human contact, officials said Friday, only contracted through mosquitoes. Spraying in western Laurens County started Saturday night.
This week, people are going door to door with DHEC information about the virus. The canvassers will have on pest control uniforms and will have a Laurens County identification. They also are willing to look around a property to see if there are mosquito breeding grounds (standing water).
Information about West Nile Virus and avoiding mosquito bites also is available on the DHEC website. Laurens County authorities have been preparing for this day for a year, they said at a news conference in Laurens.
"We are being proactive," said Joey Avery, the county's emergency management director.
"This is what government does - when there is chaos, we are there," said Laurens County Administrator Jon Caime.
There is no epidemic or wide-spread health risk, authorities said.
People cannot give the virus to each other. That being said, mosquitoes can bite and infect a lot of people before they die, and the virus can turn serious for 1 in 5 people who show flu-like symptoms.
The spray is safe, Avery said, but as a precaution, people with respiratory problems should avoid direct contact. One spraying was done and two more (if all three are needed) will be done late at night.
Authorities said they could not be more specific about the confirmed case. Greenwood County authorities also are dealing with a separate area of their county where the confirmed case had visited recently.
A Laurens County news release says, "The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) has identified target locations in both Laurens and Greenwood County. ... The product being used is safe and meets all federal and state requirements and will be conducted either early in the morning just after sunrise (dawn) or in the evening. These are the times the mosquitoes are most active. Additionally, DHEC will conduct mosquito trapping in the area to help determine the length of time needed to conduct spraying."
Bee keepers in the area and the county’s bee-keeping association also have been notified of the spraying.
Gregory Pest Control is the contracted agent for the mosquito spraying. The work will be done from a truck with a sprayer on the rear. The City of Clinton already does a mosquito-spraying program, and the one for western Laurens County is similar, authorities said.
Spraying in the county will cost about $8,000, and the county has a contingency fund for this health-related work. Avery said the mosquito threat should decrease this week as temperatures are lower than theyhave been for a summer to fall transition. “We just want to be pro-active,” he said.
There has to be 10 to 14 days between sprayings. Laurens County Emergency Preparedness discussed this situation a year ago, Public Works Director Rob Russian said. “It is a credit to Joey and his staff that we are prepared,” he said. “Joey set up these meetings well in advance.”
Avery has a DHEC booklet about the West Nile Virus, and it has blue page tabs where Avery has marked important information for West Nile Virus emergency response.
“We are going to do a call-out on our Code Red in the affected area,” Avery said. “We are encouraging people, if they haven’t already, to sign up for Code Red. There also will be a link to the DHEC website on our website (the emergency management office phone is 984-4731).”
West Nile Virus severe illness symptoms are headaches, high fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, tremors, convulsions, coma and paralysis. In its most severe form, this virus causes West Nile encephalitis or West Nile meningitis, an inflammation of the brain or the area around the brain, Most at risk are people over 50 and people who have ever received a solid organ transplant.
About 1 in 150 people who get infected will have the disease.
“About 1 in 5 people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting, swollen lymph glands, or a skin rash on the chest, stomach or back. Symptoms can last for a few days to several weeks. See your health care provider if you develop these symptoms,” DHEC says. “Your health care provider can order tests to look for West Nile Virus infection.”
No vaccine or specific antiviral treatments for West Nile Virus are available. About 1 out of 10 people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.