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First Human WNV Detection Reported

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, July 13, 2012
Lon Kightlinger, (605) 773-3737 


First Human West Nile Virus Detection Reported


PIERRE, S.D. – A Beadle County blood donor is South Dakota’s first human West Nile virus (WNV) detection of the season, the state Health Department reported today. The person is in the 20 to 29 age group.


“This individual was not ill but was detected through the routine screening of blood donations that takes place to make sure the blood supply is safe,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist for the department.. “It’s a clear indication that mosquito-to-human WNV transmission is taking place and people need to protect themselves.” 


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.  


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 severe or unusual headaches should see their physicians.   


Seven mosquito pools have tested positive for WNV so far this season in South Dakota, two in Brookings County and five in Brown County. All of the positive pools were Culex tarsalis, the primary carrier of the virus in South Dakota.


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