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South Dakota reports first West Nile Virus case of 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, July 8, 2011
CONTACT:  Lon Kightlinger, (605) 773-3737
South Dakota reports first West Nile Virus case of 2011
PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s first West Nile virus (WNV) case of the 2011 season is a Brown County resident in the 50-59 age group, the Department of Health reported today.
Peak transmission in South Dakota is from July through early September but WNV cases can also occur earlier.  Last year, in 2010, the state reported its first case July 2.  Since its first human WNV case in 2002, the state has reported 1,757 cases and 26 deaths.
“We do expect more mosquitoes this summer with so many areas affected by flooding and we expect other people to be bitten and infected with the WNV,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist for the South Dakota Department of Health. “West Nile has already been detected in mosquitoes in neighboring states (Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming) and in mammals in North Dakota) and the peak transmission period for the virus is approaching so now is the time to get in the habit of using insect repellent.”
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 wearing appropriate clothes.
  • Limit time outdoors from dusk to midnight when Culex mosquitoes are most active.
  • Eliminate 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 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://sdces.sdstate.edu/westnile