Wakonda man dies of West Nile Virus

Wakonda man dies of West Nile Virus by David Lias The West Nile virus has claimed the life of Virgil Christensen, an elderly Clay County resident who died Aug. 22 at a Yankton hospital, according to the state health department.

It marks the first death from the West Nile virus in South Dakota.

The cause of death was West Nile meningoencephalitis, said Doneen Hollingsworth, South Dakota's health secretary. Hollingsworth said the health department would not release additional information about the victim to protect patient confidentiality.

According to an Associated Press report, friends and family of Christensen say farming was a way of life for the Wakonda man.

Even at 89, they say Christensen was out in the fields each day making sure work got done.

Clark Christensen said his father enjoyed farm work.

"It was really cool for an 89-year-old guy � whether it's your father or my father � to do those things and he enjoyed the farm and what he did," Clark Christensen said.

Family members aren't sure when Christensen became infected with the virus. At first, they thought he had died of a stroke, but found out on Saturday it was from West Nile.

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