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Published On: Wed, Jul 3rd, 2013

Buffalo County child is first human West Nile virus case in South Dakota

A Buffalo County child is South Dakota’s first human West Nile virus (WNV) detection of the season, the state Health Department reported today. The person is in the 10 to 19 age group, according to a South Dakota Department of Health news release July 2.

Buffalo County, SD Image/David Benbennick

Buffalo County, SD
Image/David Benbennick

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the state reported West Nile virus was reported for the first time this year in mosquitoes from Brookings and Hughes counties.

In 2012 the first positive mosquito pool was detected July 2 and the first human case was reported July 13.

“West Nile positive mosquitoes and now a sick individual indicate the active transmission of West Nile virus in South Dakota and people need to protect themselves, especially during evening outdoor activities, such as 4th of July fireworks shows” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist for the department.

Personal precautions are especially important for those at high risk for WNV – 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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness.

The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection.

Kightlinger said people can prevent mosquito bites and reduce their 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. Culex are the primary carrier of WNV in South Dakota.
  • Getting rid of standing water that gives mosquitoes a place to breed.
  • Supporting local mosquito control efforts.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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