Doctors prepare for West Nile Virus after first case seen in the Pee Dee

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Doctors are recommending ways you can protect yourself from mosquitos after a case of West Nile Virus was reported in the Pee Dee.

West Nile Virus is commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds.

According to DHEC, this is the first person to test positive for the West Nile Virus this year.

Symptoms include headaches, fever, chills and weakness. Some people can be asymptomatic. In addition to flu-like symptoms, other symptoms of the West Nile Virus include muscle and joint pain and fever.

DHEC also reported in addition to one person, three mosquitos have also tested positive. The City of Myrtle Beach said it will increase mosquito spraying and trap mosquitos for DHEC to test. Dr. Gerald Harmon with Tidelands Health said this recent case can help them prepare if they see a patient with similar symptoms in their office.

“Now doctors have a little bit more front of mind. I see somebody and test them, I wonder if they have a cold, a sinus infection, COVID and yet they are still asymptomatic I might think well, have you gotten a lot of mosquito bites? The patient says, yeah I have had a lot of mosquito bites,” Dr. Harmon said.

In rare cases, severe symptoms include meningitis, encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain, and paralysis.

“Anywhere where there’s mosquitos, you are at risk for this disease. The season that it has is usually during the summer so summer months through fall is where there is a higher risk for infection,” Dr. Maria Bandres, an infectious disease doctor at Conway Medical Center said.

DHEC said to remove standing water, keep doors and windows sealed, apply repellent with Deet, and wear light colored clothes.

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