This page serves as a comprehensive resource for information and services related to West Nile virus (WNV) testing and surveillance in South Dakota.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that poses a significant public health concern, particularly during the warm months when mosquito activity is high. Timely and accurate testing and surveillance are essential for early detection, monitoring disease trends, and implementing effective control measures.

Guidelines for Submitting Human Samples for West Nile Virus and Other Arbovirus Testing


  1. The ideal timing of specimens is as follows:
    a) Acute serum should be collected 8-10 days after the onset of symptoms. Acute serum samples collected too early after the onset of symptoms may result in false negative results.
    b) Convalescent serum should be collected 2-3 weeks after the acute.
  2. Send 2-3 ml serum on cool packs. Serum separated from the red blood cells is preferred to prevent hemolysis.
  3. Standard blood collection tubes without anticoagulants should be used to collect the sample. (Red stopper, red/gray marble stopper, serum gel separator tubes)

Cerebrospinal Fluid

  1. Send 2-3 ml of Cerebrospinal fluid if available on cool packs. Do not freeze.
  2. Also, send serum samples collected at the appropriate time. (see above)

Packaging and Shipping

  1. Send specimens properly packaged with absorbent material inside 2 plastic containers on cool packs.
  2. Specimens may be mailed or shipped by courier (i.e. UPS, Fed Ex). Areas that do not have next-day mail service to Pierre should consider alternate shipping methods.
  3. US Mail, UPS, and Federal Express all deliver samples to the SDPHL Monday through Friday only.
  4. Please call the laboratory at 773-3368 before shipping specimens so test plates can be prepared.

Additional Information to Send with Specimens

  1. Travel history (0-4 weeks before onset of symptoms).
  2. Vaccination history (Yellow fever, Dengue, Japanese Encephalitis)
  3. Date of symptom onset.
  4. Collection date.
  5. Physician contact information.


CHARGE — $24

RESULT REPORTING — Positive results will be phoned to the physician/submitting agency.


Dr. Tim Southern, Laboratory Director
Stacy Ellwanger, Environmental Health Supervisor

615 East 4th St.
Pierre, SD 57501-1700
Phone — 605-773-3368 or 1-800-738-2301
Fax — 605-773-6129