The South Dakota Department of Health has confirmed the first West Nile virus (WNV) mosquito pool of the season has been detected in Brown County. State officials urge the public to take simple steps to protect themselves and their families against WNV which can cause fever, headaches, rash, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle and joint aches.
“Given the rural nature of our state and increased outdoor activities during the summer, protecting yourself against mosquito bites remains an important factor against West Nile infection,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “Something as simple as using bug spray or limiting activities between dusk-to-dawn hours can reduce your infection risk significantly.”
Prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of WNV by taking the following precautions:
- Apply mosquito repellents (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus 2-undecanone, param-menthane-diol, or IR3535) to clothes and exposed skin. Limit exposure by wearing pants and long sleeves in the evening;
- Limit time outdoors from dusk to midnight when mosquitoes are most active. Culex tarsalis are the primary carrier of WNV in South Dakota;
- Remove standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed. Regularly change the water in birdbaths, outside pet dishes, and drain water from other flowerpots and garden containers and stay away from areas near standing water; and
- Support local mosquito control efforts.
Personal precautions are especially important for those at high risk for severe illness from WNV – people over 60 years of age, pregnant women, transplant patients, individuals with cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and kidney disease. People with symptoms like severe or unusual headaches should see their physicians.
Since its first human WNV case in 2002, the state has reported 2,681 human cases, including 877 hospitalizations and 47 deaths. Every county has reported cases.
For more information on WNV and other health-related items, visit DOH.SD.GOV.