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      South Carolina has three more West Nile cases

      The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has confirmed three more cases of West Nile Virus in humans in Orangeburg, Lexington, and Richland counties.

      All three cases involve middle aged men.

      DHEC does not identify the victims.

      "Combined with the case identified in a Charleston County woman last week, we now have identified a total of four human cases," said Linda Bell, M.D., Interim State Epidemiologist.

      West Nile is transmitted to people by mosquitoes that have bitten birds infected with the virus.

      If you are bitten by an infected mosquito, you may notice flu-like symptoms within 2 to 14 days. These symptoms can include fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. Dr. Bell says often people infected with West Nile experience sensitivity to light and inflammation of the eyelids. Some may have a rash.

      "The most important step anyone can take to prevent West Nile virus infection is to protect against being bitten by a mosquito," said Dr. Bell. "The risk of serious illness is low. Less than one percent of people infected develop a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis."

      In addition to the human cases, WNV has been detected in one dead crow, one horse, and one mosquito pool in S.C. so far this season. DHEC recommends citizens pay attention to the "four Ds" as the most effective ways to prevent WNV:

      DEET - Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Repellents help keep mosquitoes from biting. DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older.

      DRESS - Wear clothing that reduces the risk of skin exposure.

      DAWN AND DUSK - Exposure to mosquitoes is most common during the early morning and evening so it is important to wear repellent at that time. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.

      DRAIN - Mosquitoes lay their eggs on standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flowerpots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. If you have a pond, use mosquito fish (available from your local mosquito and vector control agency) or commercially available products to eliminate mosquito larvae.

      For more information about WNV, visit {<}{>} and