West Nile Virus confirmed in Easley


EASLEY, SC (WSPA) – There has been a confirmed case of West Nile in Easley.

On Friday, city officials and Pickens County leaders announced one person was infected with the virus. 

“It’s not spread from person to person,” said Pickens County Emergency Management Director Denise Kwiatek. 

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) notified Easley City and Pickens County leaders on Friday, prompting them to immediately put a plan in place to target the area where the person was infected. An exact location was not released due to health care privacy laws. 

“Some of the area, of course, that may be affected is in the county, but yet in the area of the city limits,” said Easley Fire Chief Butch Womack. 

The spraying of pesticides was done a Saturday, via a drone. According to the city, the pesticides were approved by DHEC and the EPA, and are not harmful to humans. 

However, Chief Womack says the city has had preventatives in place for three years, however due to the confirmed human case they will have to spray pesticides.

“We’ve been putting out that larva tablets in all areas that are affected and when I say that, it’s usually storm drains,” Womack said. “Any kind of retention ponds, things like that.”

DHEC says the case is isolated to the Easley area, but there are signs to look for that may indicate you were infected. 

“If you have flu-like symptoms or something, and you do feel some pain… and [if] you are in our area or have been in our area, you probably need to be seen just to make sure,” Womack said. 

The fire chief believes the pesticides that were sprayed will take care of the West Nile threat in Easley and Pickens County, but still urges the community to help them out by doing their part to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. 

“Go outside, empty any containers that may have any kind of water in it… that’s been sitting for days.” Womack said. 

City leaders tell 7News it has not been determined if there will be a second round of pesticide spraying. 

Officials want to remind people that West Nile cannot be spread from person to person. It’s carried by birds and transferred through infected mosquitos that bite humans. 

Easley and Pickens County leaders will be testing dead birds and ask that if residents see any, they report them to the county. 

Residents who want larva tablets to place around their homes can pick them up for free Monday through Friday at Easley City Hall. 

The condition of the person infected with West Nile Virus was not released due to health privacy laws. 

Cases have been reported in all of the continental United States and there are no vaccines to prevent it or medications to treat it.

Most people who are infected have no symptoms, according to the CDC. The agency says 1 in 5 people develop a fever and other symptoms, while 1 in 150 people develop a serious, sometimes fatal illness.

You can help reduce your risk by using repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

Mosquito-borne illnesses on the rise: What to look for when buying repellents

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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