Mosquitoes in Brown County tested positive for West Nile virus. It’s the first detection of the season in South Dakota. State epidemiologist Dr. Lon Kightlinger says this means the virus is here for the summer. Kightlinger says Brown County is the national hotspot for West Nile virus, but people across the state should take safety measures.
“Take this seriously,” Kightlinger says. “People are getting complacent. In the early years, people often panicked, and now we’ve gone to complacency. We’ve had over 30 deaths from West Nile. We’ve had almost 700 people hospitalized in past years, thousands of cases. This is a serious illness and we just ask people to take it seriously, use precautions, but yet, have a good healthy summer and do enjoy the outdoors. It’s just enjoy them with precaution.”
Kightlinger says it’s important to apply mosquito repellent when out in the evening, wear pants and long sleeves and limit time outdoors from dusk to midnight. He says residents should also remove standing water, and support local mosquito control efforts.