"Why South Dakota? Managing Public Mosquito Control Programs" is sponsored by SDSU Cooperative Extension, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health.
The conference is intended for mosquito control workers, pesticide applicators, health educators, public health workers, and veterinarians on the city, tribal and county level. All communities are encouraged to send representatives to the conference.
The featured speaker is Dr. William Reisen, University of California Davis Center for Vectorborne Diseases. Dr. Reisen is one of the world's leading experts on the Culex tarsalis mosquito, the main mosquito carrier of West Nile virus in South Dakota.
Information about this year's mosquito control grant program will also be available at the conference. Grant funds will again be available to South Dakota communities for the purchase of equipment and chemicals for mosquito prevention and control efforts at the local level. Grant information will be posted on the Department of Health Web site, http://westnile.sd.gov, as it becomes available.
South Dakota's West Nile numbers have fluctuated from year to year. In 2003, South Dakota reported 1,041 human cases and 14 deaths. In 2004, there were 51 cases and 1 death. In 2005, 228 cases and 2 deaths were reported.
"We expect West Nile virus to be a threat to South Dakota's health and well-being for the foreseeable future. Mosquito control is a vital means of controlling this disease," said Dr. Lon Kight- linger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health.
For more information about the conference, visit the Web at http://sdces.sdstate.edu/westnile/conference/ or contact Jim Wilson, SDSU Cooperative Extension, at 605-688-4752.