South Dakota Health Department says West Nile Virus risk increasing

(KSFY) - The West Nile Virus (WNV) season is underway with human or mosquito detections in 11 counties across the state, according to the state Health Department.

“The West Nile season typically peaks during the first part of August, so individuals are being exposed to West Nile now,” Dr. Joshua Clayton, state epidemiologist for the department, said in a press release Thursday. “Individuals exposed today can take up to 1-2 weeks to first develop symptoms.”

Clayton said South Dakota had the highest rate in the nation of West Nile Virus neuroinvasive disease in 2017 which infects the brain and spinal cord area.

Tips to reduce the risk of WNV are to apply repellent, reduce expose of clothes, limit your outdoor times between dust and dawn and get rid of standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed.

These precautions are especially important for people at high risk for WNV, including individuals over 50, pregnant women, organ transplant patients, individuals with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease, and those with a history of alcohol abuse.

People with severe or unusual headaches should see their clinician.