Hand County resident dies of West Nile disease

Hand County resident dies of West Nile disease
The Department of Health reported July 24 a�Hand�County�resident has died of�West Nile�virus (WNV) encephalitis, the state's first WNV-related death this season. The individual was in the 80- to 89-year-old age group.

Nineteen of South Dakota's 66 counties have now had WNV detections. A total of 21 human cases have been reported to date. �

"Personal protection is important for all of us because anyone can get West Nile disease. However, people with diabetes and hypertension are more likely to become seriously ill. People who have ever received an organ transplant may have significantly higher risks of developing serious outcomes of WNV disease, including meningitis, encephalitis or possibly death," said Dr. Lon Kightlinger. "It's also important that communities intensify their mosquito control measures, particularly when they host outdoor public events."

The department recommends the following precautions to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of WNV:

  • Use mosquito repellents containing deet, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and cover as much skin as possible with loose-fitting clothing.
  • 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.

    Elderly persons, pregnant women, diabetics, transplant patients, individuals with high blood pressure, and those with a history of alcohol abuse should be especially mindful to take precautions. People with a severe or unusual headache should see their physician.

    For more information about�West Nile,�visit the Department of Health Web site at http://doh.sd.gov/WestNile/ 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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