PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Health today reported a Turner County resident in the 70 to 79 age group has died of West Nile virus (WNV). To protect patient confidentiality, additional information about the deceased is not being released.
“Our sympathy is with the family. We only hope their tragic loss will encourage others to take seriously the threat of West Nile and take steps to protect themselves,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health.
To prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of WNV, the department recommends the following personal precautions:
Personal precautions are especially important for those at high risk for WNV – people over 50, pregnant women, transplant patients, individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure, and those with a history of alcohol abuse. People with severe or unusual headaches should see their physicians.
Thirty-two South Dakota counties have now had WNV detections. So far this year there have been 52 human WNV cases, 15 positive blood donors, eight positive birds, two positive horses and 249 positive mosquito pools.
Find WNV prevention information on the Web at http://westnile.sd.gov.
Responding to current and emerging public health threats is one objective of the department’s Health 2020 initiative.