South Dakota reports four human West Nile cases

South Dakota reports four human West Nile cases The Department of Health has reported four cases of human West Nile virus (WNV) infection, the first of the year. The first two cases were detected in Butte and Stanley counties.

On June 28, two more cases were detected in Brown and Douglas counties.�The four cases have ranged in age from 19 to 43.Three of the cases were diagnosed with West Nile fever and one with neuroinvasive disease.

A Minnehaha County mosquito pool also has been detected as positive for WNV but there have been no WNV infected birds or horses reported yet.

In 2004, South Dakota's first human West Nile case was reported June 8 and a total of 51 cases and one death were reported for the year.

"This is the wake up call for those who have been waiting for human cases to get serious about personal protection," said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist. "The fact that we now have five West Nile detections scattered across the state indicates that the risk of West Nile is statewide."

Dr. Kightlinger recommends the following personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of WNV:

? Use mosquito repellents containing DEET or picaridin.

? Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to limit mosquito exposure.

? Limit time outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

? Eliminate standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed.

? Support local mosquito control efforts.

Personal precautions are particularly important for the elderly, pregnant women, and transplant patients. People with a severe or unusual headache should see their physician.

Dead crows, blue jays and hawks are a signal that West Nile virus is present and these birds should be sent to the State Public Health Laboratory for testing. Contact the local SDSU Cooperative Extension Service office for help in submitting birds for testing.�

For more information about West Nile visit the Department of Health Web site at http://WestNile.sd.gov or call 1-800-592-1861. Information is also available from the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service at http://sdces.sdstate.edu/westnile/ and the South Dakota Animal Industry Board at www.state.sd.us/aib.

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