South Dakota reports first 2021 death from West Nile Virus

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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota health officials confirmed the state’s first death from the West Nile Virus. 

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, a 42-year-old Union County woman is the first to die from West Nile in 2021. 

Health officials say those most at risk from WNV include residents 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

“We are encouraging residents to take the necessary precautions to avoid contracting West Nile Virus. Simple, yet key mitigation strategies, like avoiding areas with sitting water and evening outdoor activities during mosquito season, can reduce risk,” DOH spokesman Daniel Bucheli said in a news release. 

Since the first human West Nile case in 2001, South Dakota has had 2,624 human cases and 47 deaths. 

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