First West Nile mosquito pool detected in Brown County

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 4:55 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Brown County is the first in South Dakota to test positive for a West Nile Virus mosquito pool this season, and there are precautions you can take to swat away your chances of contracting the virus.

While no human in Brown County has tested positive for West Nile yet this season, the mosquito pool could easily pass the virus on.

”Those mosquitoes are now positive, and so they have that in their system, and if they bite a human, can potentially transmit West Nile Virus to humans,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, the Department of Health State Epidemiologist.

In fact, the DOH is predicting the virus will be moderate this season, but could infect quite a few people.

“We have worked with South Dakota State University and have a prediction model, which shows that we estimate a moderate West Nile Virus season of about 66 West Nile Virus cases,” said Dr. Clayton.

Sanford Certified Nurse Practitioner, Natalie Braun, says there are certain symptoms of West Nile to now look out for.

”West Nile symptoms will include fever, joint pain, body aches, just generally not feeling well, maybe nausea and vomiting,” said Braun.

Braun says most cases are asymptomatic, but some can become severe and require hospitalization.

“If you are one of the unlucky few to get it, it’s usually supportive cares. So, when you would go to the hospital would be if a fever doesn’t want to come down after using ibuprofen and Tylenol, not being able to independently eat, drink, things like that,” said Braun.

Dr. Clayton says the Midwest in particular is a hot spot for the more severe cases.

“North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska make up typically the top three states for West Nile Virus neuroinvasive cases, and that’s where it’s not just circulating in the blood, it actually invades a space in the brain,” said Dr. Clayton.

To prevent contracting West Nile, Dr. Clayton says to wear long sleeves and pants, avoid the outdoors from dusk to dawn, and wear plenty of mosquito repellent.

”Mainly looking at those FDA-approved mosquito repellents, such as DEETS, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and there are several others as well that are readily available at your local market,” said Dr. Clayton.

Dr. Clayton says to also avoid creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which could be any standing water.

”It could be something like a bird bath or a water dish for dogs and cats. It can also be tires that might be around a home or really any bucket or container that is sitting upright in a place where it can retain water,” said Dr. Clayton.

Now that Brown County has tested positive for a West Nile Virus mosquito pool, Dr. Clayton expects to see more counties test positive during the month of July. You can find more preventative steps and active detections of West Nile on the Department of Health’s website.

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