3rd case of West Nile discovered in county

Laurens County officials confirmed Thursday that another case of West Nile virus had been discovered in the county, bringing the total number of cases to three in as many weeks.

The third case was found in the Barksdale area. Like the one discovered this past week in northern Laurens County, the latest is also an avian case. The first West Nile case discovered this year in the county involved a human in the southern part of the county.

Laurens County Emergency Services Director said the county is to conduct an initial spraying for mosquitos in the Barksdale area tonight (Thursday), but will spray Friday if it rains as predicted tonight. The county will also be spraying tonight or Friday night for the second time in the “southeastern” area of the county near where the first case was found.

“We take this very seriously, and we’ve been discussing this with DHEC, and they’ve been very reactive to us,” said Laurens County Emergency Services Director Joey Avery. “We’ve been taking the steps that (the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control) DHEC has asked us to do, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Avery also said Laurens is not unlike other counties around the state who are coming across cases of the virus after a particularly wet summer that came to a close with Hurricane Florence dumping historical amounts of rains on the Carolinas.

“There is still no reason to ring any alarms,” he said.

In cases of West Nile, birds are the primary carriers and are then fed upon by mosquitos after death. The mosquitos can then transmit the virus to humans and other animals, including dogs, cows and horses.

Representatives from Gregory Pest Solutions, who will have county and company identification with them, will also be conducting door-to-door education in both areas.

Avery once again urged local residents to check their property for potential mosquito breeding areas, including any puddles or anything that might contain stagnant or standing water.

DHEC monitors the spread of West Nile through birds, focusing on five types – Fish Crows, Blue Jays, House Finches, Dead House Finches and American Crows, but Avery said the latest infected bird was not among those species.

The county has contracted with Gregory Pest Solutions to spray for mosquitos in the area where the infected bird was found this Friday evening. The spray is safe for humans, but those with respiratory illnesses should stay indoors if the pesticides are being sprayed nearby.

Further information on mosquitos and the West Nile virus can be found online at scdhec.gov/homeandenvironment/insects/mosquitoes or by calling DHEC at 864-227-5918.

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