Brown, Beadle, and Minnehaha Counties Mosquito Pool First West Nile Detection of Season

For Immediate Release: July 11, 2023

Brown, Beadle, and Minnehaha Counties Mosquito Pool First West Nile Detection of Season

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Health has confirmed the first West Nile virus (WNV) mosquito pools have been detected in Brown, Beadle, and Minnehaha Counties. State officials urge the public to take simple steps to protect themselves and their families against WNV which can cause fever, headaches, rash, swollen lymph nodes and muscle and joint aches.

“Given the increased time spent outdoors and activities occurring during the summer, protecting yourself from mosquito bites remains important to avoid West Nile infection,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “Simply using bug spray or limiting activities between dusk-to-dawn hours can reduce your infection risk significantly.”

The first two human cases of WNV in 2023 were reported in Sanborn and Jerauld Counties. South Dakota has reported more than 2,750 human cases and 49 deaths since WNV was first reported in 2002. Every county has reported cases.

Individuals and families can reduce their risk by taking the following actions:

  • Apply mosquito repellents (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone, param-menthane-diol or IR3535) to clothes and exposed skin. Limit exposure bywearing 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.

Personal precautions are especially important for those at high risk for severe illness from WNV are individuals over 60 years of age, pregnant women, transplant patients, individuals with cancer, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease. Individuals experiencing symptoms like severe or unusual headaches should see their physicians.

“This year, nearly 200 South Dakota cities, counties and tribes will share $500,000 in grants intended to control mosquitoes and prevent West Nile virus,” added Dr. Clayton.

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 2022. This reimbursement grant helps alleviate some of the costs the help control mosquitos that pose a risk of the West Nile virus.

For more information on WNV and other health-related items, visit DOH.SD.GOV.