The South Dakota Department of Health is reporting 26 new cases of human West Nile virus, bring the total to 67 this year.
The new number is the highest number of cases since 2007 when 208 human cases were reported. Dr. Lon Kighlinger, State Epidemiologist for the Department of Health, says mid-August is the peak time for West Nile Virus in South Dakota so more cases are expected.
So far the virus has been detected in 28 of South Dakota's 66 counties. There have been 67 human cases reported, including one death. There have also been 22 positive blood donors, six positive horses, one positive bird and 56 positive mosquito pools.
The Department of Health says you can prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of WNV by:
Using mosquito repellents (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535) and limit exposure by covering up.
Limiting time outdoors from dusk to midnight when Culex mosquitoes are most active.
Getting rid of standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed.
Supporting local mosquito control efforts.
According to the Department of Health, those precautions are important for people over 50, pregnant women, transplant patients, individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure, and those with a history of alcohol abuse. People with severe or unusual headaches should see their physicians.