West Nile virus case confirmed in Brown County

PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Department of Health has confirmed the first case of West Nile virus of the season in Brown County.

State health officials are urging the public to take precautions to help protect themselves against West Nile virus.

West Nile virus can cause fever, headaches, rash, swollen lymph nodes and muscle and joint aches.

“Given the rural nature of our state and increased outdoor activities during the summer, protecting yourself against mosquito bites remains an important factor against West Nile infection,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “Something as simple as using bug spray or limiting activities between dusk-to-dawn hours can reduce your infection risk significantly.”

To prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of contracting West Nile, apply mosquito repellents  such as DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus 2-undecanone, param-menthane-diol, or IR3535 to clothes and exposed skin. Limit exposure by wearing pants and long sleeves in the evening.

Other precautions to take include limiting time outdoors from dusk until midnight as mosquitos are most active at these times, remove standing water as this gives the insects a place to breed. Change the water in birdbaths, outside pet dishes, water from flower pots and garden containers regularly and stay away from areas near standing water.

People over 60 years old, pregnant women, transplant patients and individuals with cancer, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease are at high risk for severe illness from West Nile virus. Those who exhibit symptoms like severe or unusual headaches should see their physicians.

Since the first human case in 2002, South Dakota has reported 2,681 cases including 877 hospitalizations and 47 deaths, with every county having reported cases.

Categories: South Dakota News