Nine additional human West Nile reported in S.D.

Nine additional human West Nile reported in S.D. The state Department of Health reported nine additional cases of human West Nile Oct. 2, bringing the state's total to 33. Cases were reported in Brown, Brule, Charles Mix, Codington, Gregory, Hutchinson (two), Miner and Sanborn counties. There have been no deaths reported.

"The State Public Health Laboratory is continuing to test samples from people who became ill over the past month so it's not unexpected that we are still seeing new positives. However, with the cooler weather and reduced mosquito activity the West Nile season in South Dakota is winding down," said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist. "We do expect WNV to present in South Dakota again in 2003."

The median age of the South Dakota cases is 51, with ages ranging from 2 to 92. Thirty percent have been female and 70 percent male.

Previous cases have been reported in Brown (three), Davison (one), Faulk (one), Grant (one) Haakon (three), Hand (one), Hughes (six), Lake (one), Lyman (three), Miner (one), Potter (one) and Walworth Counties (one). The State Public Health Laboratory has also reported 635 negative human tests for West Nile.

Dr. Kightlinger offered the following 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.


* Communities in affected areas should consider adult mosquito control.

West Nile has now been reported in all 66 counties, in a total of 92 birds, 626 horses, and a sampling of mosquitoes. South Dakota has also reported its first positive squirrel, submitted by Game, Fish and Parks officials in Union County.

Nationally, there have been 2,477 cases of human West Nile reported and 124 deaths.

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. Kightlinger 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.

South Dakota physicians are asked to be vigilant for patients who may be suffering from West Nile encephalitis. Human testing is available at the State Public Health Laboratory in Pierre.

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 of Health Web site at www.state.sd.us/doh/West

Nile/ and on the Animal Industry Board Web site at www.state.sd.us/aib/

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