CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mosquito samples taken from the Joint Base Charleston Naval Weapons Station have tested positive for West Nile virus, officials say.
Samples of mosquitoes from the Naval Weapons Station, located near several rivers, marshland, and swamps, were taken to the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to be tested.
Officials say so far, no cases of the West Nile virus infection have been reported in South Carolina, but some people are still taking precautions.
"I am going to be more cautious, I'm also going to think twice before I wear short sleeves and short pants. Going forward I'm going to take the effort to put mosquito repellent on myself," Chinedu Nwadiugwu said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, most people infected with West Nile Virus will have no symptoms.
"About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms. Less than one percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurological illness," CDC said.
The CDC also said most people, between 70 and 80 percent, who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.
One Hanahan resident said he's not concerned with virus showing up in the Lowcountry.
"It doesn't really bother me so much that they found it because I'm sure that it's been around for a while, you can't test every single mosquito," James Bearden said.
Officials are conducting additional mosquito surveillance in the area.
With a humid, subtropical climate, Charleston is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
To date, none of the mosquitoes submitted for Zika testing have tested positive.
While there is no vaccine to prevent Zika or West Nile viruses, you can still protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites by:
- Staying inside during dawn, dusk and early evening (peak biting hours)
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors
- Treating clothing with Permethrin
- Applying insect repellents like DEET, Picaridin or IR3535 to exposed skin
- Ensuring windows are properly covered with screens
- Reporting dead birds to Civil Engineering
If you plan to travel to an area with known Zika virus, or would like more information about West Nile virus, contact public health at (843) 963-6962. You can also check the Centers for Disease Control's website at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ or http://www.cdc.gov/westnile for the latest information concerning Zika and West Nile viruses.