On Call to deal with SARS, West Nile virus

On Call to deal with SARS, West Nile virus With four cases confirmed just last week and the state's largest city spraying for mosquitoes like it never has before, the threat of West Nile virus is foremost on everyone's mind.

Epidemics, including West Nile virus and SARS, is the topic for this Sunday's edition of On Call, which airs every Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. (Central Time) on South Dakota Public Television.

A special guest this Sunday, Aug. 3, is Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It's a little too soon to say where the West Nile virus is going to take us this year," Gerberding says. "We know, typically, the season peaks at the end of August or even into September. But we do know now that as of July 23, more than 32 states are reporting West Nile activity and we've seen already nine people with West Nile infection.

"There are many things that people can do to be safe," Gerberding adds. "Most importantly, get rid of the standing water on your property where mosquitoes could breed. This would include water in old tires, in flowerpots, in birdbaths and just about anything that would provide a good incubator for mosquito larvae. It's also important to cover your skin, especially in the evenings and early mornings, when mosquitoes typically feed, and to use an insect repellent that contains DEET."

The public is invited to call the toll-free hotline (1-888-dr-on-call) with questions pertaining to the show's topic. Upcoming topics are: depression Aug. 24, rheumatoid arthritis Aug. 31 and diabetes Sept. 7.

On Call debuted July 20 as the only program to carry the endorsement of all the medical entities within the state.

It is hosted each week by Dr. Rick Holm, a Brookings physician, and Lindsey Meyers.

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