An 80- to 89-year-old Yankton County resident has died from West Nile virus (WNV), marking South Dakota’s first death of the season from the mosquito-borne virus.
So far this season, the South Dakota Department of Health has reported 74 cases of human WNV, and a quarter of those cases have resulted in hospitalization. Twelve percent of the cases have had the most serious neruoinvasive disease, while 88 percent have had WNV fever.
Dr. Lon Kightlinger, the state’s epidemiologist, said that while the Zika virus is grabbing most news headlines, West Nile is the mosquito-borne virus of concern in South Dakota. Officials are encouraging people to protect themselves and their families by using repellent and avoiding the outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.
For more information about the disease and prevention, visit the department’s West Nile Virus Prevention and Control site.