Residents and business owners are reminded to practice mosquito safety methods as health officials report an increase in the number of mosquitos infected with West Nile virus this year.
“We encourage citizens to take personal precautions,” said Richland County Vector Control Manager Tammy Brewer. “The evenings are cooler and folks may want to sit outside, but it is very important that they take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites because the viral activity is continuing.”
West Nile virus is most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the virus, and about 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mosquito activity doesn’t significantly drop until daytime temperatures are consistently below 50 degrees, Brewer said.
The Richland County Vector Control Department provides residents with efficient and effective control of organisms that potentially transmit diseases to humans. As a direct result of the recent spike in West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes, Vector Control is continuing to take the following proactive steps:
- Monitoring the entire County and treating standing water to control mosquito larvae
- Submitting mosquitoes from trap collections for viral testing, especially in areas where positive activity has been identified
- Working with multiple outlets to promote public awareness about West Nile virus and mosquito bite prevention
Residents are asked to take their own initiative to help reduce mosquito populations by emptying standing water on their property and to wear long sleeves and use repellents according to the label when outdoors. For detailed information about the proper use of repellent, visit www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html
To report mosquito activity in Richland County, contact the Ombudsman at 803-929-6000.