South Dakota is reporting its first West Nile virus (WNV) detections of the season, a positive mosquito pool in Brookings County and one in Brown County.
"This will be the eleventh year of West Nile transmission in South Dakota and it may be tempting to be complacent," said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health. "We need to remember that it can be a serious, even fatal illness, and get in the habit of protecting ourselves by using repellents, limiting exposure, and getting rid of mosquito breeding spots."
To prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of WNV, the department recommends the following personal precautions:
- Use mosquito repellents (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535) and limit exposure by covering up.
- Limit time outdoors from dusk to midnight when Culex mosquitoes are most active.
- Get rid of standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed.
- Support local mosquito control efforts.
In South Dakota peak transmission of WNV is July through early September. South Dakota has reported 1,759 cases, including 26 deaths, since its first case in 2002.
Personal precautions are especially important for those at high risk for WNV – people over 50, pregnant women, transplant patients, individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure, and those with a history of alcohol abuse. People with a severe or unusual headache should see their physician.
Find WNV prevention information on the web at http://westnile.sd.gov.
Information is also available from the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service at http://www.sdstate.edu/sdces/issues/wnv.cfm.