West Nile Virus discovered at Naval Weapons Station

August 22 17:48 2016 Print This Article

According to a military spokesman, mosquitoes recently collected at the Naval Weapons Station tested positive for West Nile Virus. There have been no cases of humans infected to date.

The West Nile Virus cannot be passed from human to human.  It most often starts with a bird, usually a crow.  A mosquito bites the infected bird and then passes the virus on to other birds, animals and humans.  Only 1% of mosquitoes are infected with the virus.

Most people who are infected never develop symptoms. Only 20% of people will develop a fever, headaches, body aches and diarrhea. 1% can develop encephalitis, which is a serious and sometimes deadly neurological disease.

There is no cure for West Nile Virus.  The treatment is the same as for other viruses, such as the flu.  Fluids, rest and medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are recommended for fever and body aches. In rare cases, hospitalization is needed for respiratory problems.  If someone develops a serve headache with body aches and has been in an area with West Nile Virus, the patient should see a doctor immediately.

You can reduce your chances of developing West Nile Virus by wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, and using insect repellent on exposed skin.  Avoid being outside during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are more prevalent.  Make sure to keep outside containers free of standing water that will attract mosquitoes. Finally, report dead bird sightings to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) at 843-579-4500.