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September 03, 2012 05:56 PM

Campers Not Worried About West Nile

Garretson, SD

During these last days of summer, people are trying to get outside to enjoy one last weekend of camping. But with cases of West Nile popping up, people are also trying to stay safe over the holiday.

Even though he is not working, Jeremy Voss has not just been sitting around this Labor Day.

"Lots of walking, lots of hiking, just relaxation," Voss said.

Camping at Palisades State Park near Garretson, Voss, his wife and three kids spent the morning refueling with a bite to eat.  Voss is from Minnesota, so he is aware the mosquitoes are biting too.

"That's kind of our state bird," Voss said, laughing. 

The United States is currently seeing its highest number of West Nile virus cases in several years and South Dakota ranks within the top six states for having the virus.

Just this year, there have been 98 reported cases of West Nile in South Dakota, including one death. Voss said he always keeps bug spray in his camper.

"We haven't really used bug spray at all this weekend," Voss said. 

Voss said he has not been worried about West Nile all summer and thinks the hot and dry weather has helped lower the mosquito population. 

Most of the cases have been reported in the northeastern part of the state. Minnehaha County has reported eight human cases and Lincoln County has reported two.

"It didn't deter us from coming out today [Monday] at all," Christina Godshall said.

Even hiking through the woods with her husband and children, Godshall said her family has not been bitten at all.  Still, when it comes to her kids, bug spray is a must.

"Just sprayed it on all over them just in case," Godshall said.  "It's scary just because I've seen some of the stuff on TV with the stuff kids get."

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