PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The weeks from now through early September bring what health officials call the peak transmission time for West Nile virus in South Dakota. Late last month, the South Dakota Department of Health said a Hughes County resident was the first human West Nile virus detection of the season. State Epidemiologist Dr. Lon Kightlinger says it’s likely more cases of West Nile will show up as the summer progresses.
Kightlinger says South Dakota and a few neighboring states seem to be hit the hardest by the bird disease, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitos.
Kightlinger says state and local agencies do what they can to cut mosquito numbers, but personal precautions against mosquito bites are also important.
Kightlinger says those who come down with West Nile virus experience symptoms ranging from a headache to having a fever or a rash. He says those experiencing a severe headache should see their doctor. All age groups from infant to elderly have had West Nile in South Dakota. The state has reported more than 2,000 human cases since the first West Nile detection in 2002 and 32 have died from it.
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