Mosquito Control Awareness Week in full swing - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Mosquito Control Awareness Week in full swing

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With summer officially setting in and everyone's desire to be outdoors, now is the time to stay 'mosquito aware' and protect yourself from the pests.

This week marks National Mosquito Control Awareness Week. Together, state and local health experts are teaming up to keep communities safe. Sioux Falls is no exception. 

South Dakota has one of the highest rates of West Nile cases in the country and those numbers aren't expected to go down anytime soon. State Epidemiologist Dr. Lon Kightlinger tells KSFY News over 2,000 cases have been reported since the first back in 2002. Additionally, more than 30 people have been killed from West Nile.

"We'd expect it to be back. West Nile is entrenched in South Dakota now. We don't expect it to go away anytime soon. We really have to take precautions the best we can. It's here and probably here to stay," Dr. Lon Kightlinger said.

He says a mosquito bite in the summer time is not something we should take lightly. 

"This is a disease that makes people very, very sick, all age groups. Over the past dozen years or so, 32 people have died. People have suffered profound illness. People think 'oh it's a mosquito bite, what's that going to do?' when it's really a bad disease," Dr. Kightlinger said. 

There are a number of ways to protect yourself by patching up holes around your home, screen doors and windows. Also, wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when outdoors at night. That's when, Dr. Kightlinger says, the virus-carrying mosquitoes tend to be out and biting the most. Most importantly, wear repellent whenever your outdoors day or night, especially if skin is exposed. 

For more information about Mosquito Control in Sioux Falls, visit the following link: http://www.siouxfalls.org/health/public-health/vector-mosquito-control.aspx

For more information about West Nile in the state of South Dakota, visit the following link: http://doh.sd.gov/diseases/infectious/wnv/
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