Number of S.D. counties with West Nile detections reaches 25

Number of S.D. counties with West Nile detections reaches 25 The South Dakota Public Health Laboratory Aug. 13 reported four more dead birds have tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV). Testing positive were blue jays from McCook, Beadle and Hughes counties and a crow from Davison County. WNV has now been detected in 25 South Dakota counties.

Positive birds have now been detected in Beadle, Brookings, Brown, Davison, Day, Hamlin, Hughes, Lake, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Roberts, and Spink counties.

Positive horses have been detected in Brookings, Brown, Butte, Charles Mix, Codington, Douglas, Grant, Gregory, Hanson, Kingsbury, Marshall, Minnehaha, Roberts, Stanley, and Walworth counties. One sampling of WNV-positive Culex tarsalis mosquitoes has been detected in Brookings County.

There have been no human cases of West Nile Virus reported in South Dakota.

West Nile is primarily a bird disease, and crows are especially susceptible. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on an infected bird and can pass the virus to humans, horses or other hosts when they bite.

Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health, said most people who become infected do not become ill. Some may develop mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally swollen lymph glands or a rash. In rare cases West Nile may cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Individuals with severe or unusual headaches should seek medical care as soon as possible.

Kightlinger emphasized that the risk of West Nile is low but encouraged people to take precautions to protect against mosquito bites:

* Get rid of old tires and other containers where water can accumulate and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

* Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

* Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in mosquito infested areas.

* Use mosquito repellents containing DEET, making sure to follow the directions on the container.

* Use bug lights and screen doors and windows.

Horse vaccination is recommended. Horse owners should see their veterinarians. Samples from horses suspected of infection with West Nile can be tested at SDSU's Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory.

More information about West Nile can be found on the department's Web site at


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