PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The South Dakota Department of Health reminds state residents that the mosquito population is on the rise; as is the number of the pests that are positive for the West Nile virus. The Culex tarsalis mosquito is the primary carrier of West Nile virus in South Dakota. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health says in a press release that a substantial increase was noted this month in just a week’s time in the number of Culex mosquitoes and in the number of West Nile positives. He says that the higher numbers mean an increased risk of disease transmission, so Kightlinger stresses that people protect themselves with appropriate repellent. In the past, at least 90 percent of the state’s West Nile cases have occurred between mid-July and mid-September. As of yesterday, the state has reported four cases of human West Nile so far-in Brookings, Buffalo, Jones and Spink counties-and 23 positive mosquito pools. People should use precautions to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of the virus. Precautionary measures are especially important for those at high risk for West Nile, including people over 50, pregnant women, transplant patients, those who have diabetes or high blood pressure and those with a history of alcohol abuse. For further prevention information, visit the Health Department’s West Nile virus page at http://westnile.sd.gov.
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