VA Black Hills Health Care System
West Nile Virus
South Dakota's first West Nile virus (WNV) case of the 2011 season has been reported by the South Dakota Department of Health.
Peak transmission in South Dakota is from July through early September. 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.
Feel free to speak with your VA Care Provider if you have any questions regarding West Nile Virus or other health concerns.