Protecting yourself from the West Nile virus - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Protecting yourself from the West Nile virus

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There is now one confirmed case of the West Nile virus this summer in South Dakota.

Health officials say the person who was diagnosed was donating blood in Beadle County and wasn't feeling sick at all.

July is the start of the peak season for the West Nile virus and it continues through early September.

"You can see the cases year-round but this maybe the time you see the maximum cases," Dr. Jawad Nazir said.

We talked with infectious disease specialist Dr. Jawad Nazir about the virus. He knows about the person who was recently diagnosed. That person is between 20 and 29-years-old. Dr. Nazir says everyone could be at risk when it comes to the virus.

"You can get the infection at any age group but the very young to the elderly can get a severe form of the disease," Dr. Nazir said.

You can protect yourself from getting West Nile by using bug spray. Spray it on anytime you're outside and especially if you're in wooded areas.

"Using protective clothing, long sleeves, using mosquito spray and any standing water you may have at your residence, get rid of that," Dr. Nazir said.

Because a few years ago, Dr. Nazir said South Dakota was one of the top states with a high number of cases. In the last decade, the state had nearly 1,800 cases and 26 people died from the disease. So it's something to pay attention to.

"Cases have been reported all over and we can't predict it will go away," Dr. Nazir said.

West Nile symptoms are flu-like: headache, fever, body aches and maybe a rash.

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