South Dakota Enters Peak Transmission Season for West Nile

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Are you wearing bug spray? Health officials predict West Nile cases to nearly double this season from last summer. The worst part of the season is just getting started. 

Just last week, the South Dakota Department of Health predicted there would be 135 cases, but dropped it to 127. It has detected West Nile in 11 counties across South Dakota. So far, two people have reported having it, but they didn’t need to go to the hospital. Nobody has reported any deaths. The weather we’ve had is both helping and hurting West Nile carrying mosquitoes. 

On nice days outside, Dan Buum is glad his family surrounds him rather than a swarm of mosquitoes. 

“I don’t think they like me that much. I’ve never really had a problem. My wife has had more problems with mosquitoes than I do. I just worry about kids this age,” Buum said, pointing to his granddaughter. 

That’s why it’s crucial to wear bug spray. Sioux Falls Health Program Coordinator Denise Patton says we’re heading into peak transmission season for West Nile. 

“This is the time of the year where the culex mosquitoes are at their height and those are the ones that spread disease very well,” Patton said.

Patton will soon test the mosquitoes from area traps for the disease. 

“We’re starting to see cases pop up. We’re starting to see positive pools. Activity is out there,” Patton said. 

She says all of the rain and heat and humidity has brought more of them out. The good news is, cooler temperatures have slowed them down, so it’s not as bad as predicted. The bad news, Patton says South Dakota still tops the nation in reported cases. 

“We still are light years beyond other people in numbers, so it’s still bad. One disease is too many,” Patton said. 

As for Buum, he’s only seen good days with his family so far this season. 

“I haven’t seen a mosquito all summer, surprisingly, with all this moisture. I thought it’d be worse, but I haven’t seen it,” Buum said. 

For more information on mosquito control in Sioux Falls click here. 

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