West Nile season still ahead with dry and hot weather

So far, two counties in South Dakota have found pools of West Nile in mosquito populations, those being Brown and Minnehaha counties.
So far, two counties in South Dakota have found pools of West Nile in mosquito populations,...
So far, two counties in South Dakota have found pools of West Nile in mosquito populations, those being Brown and Minnehaha counties.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 9:51 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It’s around mid-July that any body of water can become a haven for mosquitoes. It’s almost the start of peak West Nile season in South Dakota, with pools of the virus already showing up in mosquito populations around the state.

So far, two counties in South Dakota have found pools of West Nile in mosquito populations, those being Brown and Minnehaha counties. There aren’t any human cases reported yet this year. However, the first West Nile case last year didn’t come until July 23.

“Every season is somewhat predictable on one hand, and really unpredictable on the other. The first mosquitoes that usually arrive in the spring not even ones that bite humans at all. And of course we saw those at the beginning of the season. They’re actually quite a bit bigger that other mosquitoes too. So sometimes people think, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we in for? We’ve got these really big mosquitoes.’” Sioux Falls Health Program Coordinator and City Entomologist Denise Patton.

Patton said the dry and hot weather is actually preferred by the Culex mosquito, the species most likely to carry West Nile.

MORE: First West Nile mosquito pool detected in Brown County

“The Culex mosquito, the one that’s most competent at carrying the West Nile virus, is super happy. They love dry, hot temperatures, and that’s exactly what we’re experiencing. As per the norm, we are seeing those numbers kind of go up. I wouldn’t say at any alarming rate. We’re enough numbers to constitute targeted spray events. You’ve probably seen our trucks out and about a few times this summer.”

Patton said not only is the weather becoming drier, the more people out on vacation or outside means a higher risk of transmission.

“That’s the way it’s looking. But it doesn’t typically really showing up until the middle of July. The Fourth of July, people are all out. They’re barbecuing, they’re doing fireworks. They’re with families, etcetera. They’re out a little bit more than they might be the month prior.”

Patton said if you’re going to be out and about in this weather, to use bug repellant whenever you’re outside. She also said to avoid peak hours when mosquito counts are higher.

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