South Dakota reports first West Nile virus detection of season in Brown County

Jonathan Ellis
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
The Culex tarsalis mosquito, which may transmit West Nile virus, can be identified by the light colored band on its proboscis, as seen through a microscope on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 at Sioux Falls Mosquito Control.

The South Dakota Department of Health reported Wednesday the first mosquito pool of the season with West Nile virus has been found in Brown County.

Health officials urged the pubic to take precautions to protect from mosquito bites. West Nile causes fever, headaches, rash, swollen lymph nodes and muscle and joint pain.

“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, the state epidemiologist. “Something as simple as using bug spray or limiting activities between dusk-to-dawn hours can reduce your infection risk significantly.” 

Precautions include:

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  • Apply mosquito repellents (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;
  • Limit time outdoors from dusk to midnight when mosquitoes are most active. Culex tarsalis are the primary carrier of WNV in South Dakota;
  • Remove standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed. Regularly change the water in birdbaths, outside pet dishes, and drain water from other flowerpots and garden containers and stay away from areas near standing water; and
  • Support local mosquito control efforts.

Since 2002, 2,681 West Nile infections have been reported, resulting in 877 hospitalizations and 47 deaths.