State promotes DEET usage to prevent West Nile

State promotes DEET usage to prevent West Nile South Dakotans can purchase insect repellent at a reduced cost thanks to a collaborative effort with the 3MTM Company, makers of UltrathonTM repellent. 3MTM has provided 25,000 coupons for a dollar off the purchase price of the repellent. The coupons are available from the South Dakota Department of Health at its local offices across the state. A listing of local offices is available on the Web at www.state.sd.us/doh/Address.

Proper use of DEET-containing repellents significantly reduces the risk of mosquito bites and thus the risk of West Nile Virus. In 2003, the virus sickened 1,041 South Dakotans and took the lives of 14. Human cases were reported in every one of the state's 66 counties.

"Gov. Rounds asked retailers to stock and promote DEET products to their customers. He also encouraged manufacturers to offer coupons and rebates to South Dakotans to make their repellents accessible to more people," said Secretary of Health Doneen Hollingsworth. "3M answered the governor's call, and we're appreciative of their generosity. As a result, more South Dakotans will be able to protect themselves from West Nile Virus."

Hollingsworth said the DEET promotion is just one part of the state's WNV response which also includes more than $900,000 in grants to local mosquito control programs, training for mosquito control applicators, education for health care providers, and free laboratory testing of human samples.

"Cities and counties across South Dakota are much better prepared for West Nile Virus this year, however, nobody should assume the local mosquito control program is the only protection they need," said Hollingsworth. "It's not realistic to think every mosquito can be eliminated. That's whey we need to protect ourselves by using a repellent containing DEET to reduce the risk of mosquito bites."

The discount coupons are also available for printing on the Web. Interested consumers can go the www.state.sd.us/doh/DEET to find a link for printing off the coupon.

For information about repellents and for links to other resources, visit the department's Web site at www.state.sd .us/doh/WestNile.

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