Rapid City receives $20K to help control mosquitoes

PIERRE, S.D. — More than 200 South Dakota cities, counties and tribes will share in $500,000 in grants intended to control mosquitoes and prevent West Nile virus (WNV), the Department of Health announced Monday.

“South Dakota has a disproportionately high number of WNV cases when compared to other states. Local mosquito control efforts play a vital role in protecting our communities,” said Bill Chalcraft, administrator of public health preparedness and response for the Department of Health.

All applying communities received funding, with grants ranging from $500 to $20,000. Grant awards were based on the population of the applying jurisdiction and its history of human WNV cases through 2018.

Rapid City will receive $20,000 and Pennington County will receive an additional $11,000.

Officials say they plan to increase fogging operations and invest in a new fogging machine with the money. 

“That’ll be used by stormwater maintenance division, it will be used on our golf courses, by our parks division. We’re also going to use the money to invest in a new fogging machine. We have three now. This will enable us to get an additional unit,” said Rapid City Communications Coordinator Darrell Shoemaker.

Just last week, a case of West Nile was reported in Campbell County, Wyoming, but cooler temperatures are keeping the bugs at bay in the Black Hills — for now.

“As we move forward, as we get warmer temperatures and that humidity starts to climb that’s when we start to get some hatches and fogging operations and we’re going to let the public know through our social media, through the traditional media sources, where we’re going to be fogging and for how long,” said Shoemaker.

Officials also urge that you check for standing water around your property to eliminate any possible mosquito breeding grounds.

Since its first human WNV case in 2001, the state has reported 2,601 human cases and 46 deaths. Every county has had reported cases.

Since the virus emerged in South Dakota, the state has provided more than $8 million in support for local mosquito control, including this latest round of grants, either in direct grant funding or control chemicals.

A complete list of funded programs and grant amounts is available here

Visit westnile.sd.gov for prevention information and surveillance updates.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News