An elderly Aiken County man has been identified as the first person to die with West Nile Virus this year in South Carolina. “This gentleman tested positive for West Nile Virus infection after being hospitalized with sudden onset of high fever, confusion, and headache,” said Riyadh Muhammad, M-D and regional medical director for DHEC Region 5 Public Health, covering Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties. Dr. Muhammad said West Nile Virus is a disease of birds transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on infected birds. People bitten by an infected mosquito may become ill within 2 to 14 days with flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. Some may have a rash. So far this year in South Carolina, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, West Nile Virus has been detected in 17 people, three animals, 13 birds and one mosquito pool.