South Dakota Residents Cautioned against West Nile Virus’ Peak Season

Residents of South Dakota are being cautioned by health officials that the peak season for West Nile virus (WNV) will extend till the end of August, and the movement of the virus has started to rise. State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health Dr. Lon Kightlinger revealed that the state is experiencing more than the usual rate of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile in 2016, along with the number of reported cases extending beyond the average of past 10 years.

Dr. Kightlinger added that it is more than extremely significant for people to ensure that they are using insect repellents to keep themselves safe. As of July 28, cases of 19 people being affected with West Nile have been reported in South Dakota, while the surveillance update from next week will reveal that the cases are continuously increasing.

Four cases were reported in Brown County, while two cases each were reported in Bookings, Minnehaha and Spink counties. Beadle, Codington, Davison, Douglas, Grant, Hamlin, Lincoln, McCook and Todd counties reported one case each. Brookings, Brown, Edmunds, Hughes, Lincoln and Minnehaha counties have been identified with presence of the mosquito.

Dr. Kightlinger explained that since the state is witnessing inexplicably higher rates of WNV cases, residents must take the following precautions to remain safe from the mosquito. First of all, mosquito repellents, like DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535, must be used by residents. Residents must wear pants and long sleeves during the evening to avoid exposure.

Secondly, resident must try to avoid going out between dusk and midnight since it is the most active time for Culex mosquitoes, the main WNV carrier in the state. Thirdly, the residents must ensure that water is not left stagnant at any place, which will prevent breeding of mosquitoes. Finally, local mosquito control measures must be supported.