State health officials in both Nebraska and South Dakota have confirmed their first human case this year of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.
The Nebraska case was in the northeastern corner of the state where the Elkhorn-Logan Valley Health Department – which covers Burt, Cuming, Madison and Stanton counties – said the infected person was not hospitalized.
The South Dakota Department of Health said Friday that its first case was a male in his 60’s residing in Walworth County in the north-central part of the state.
South Dakota has recorded 2,634 human cases, 850 hospitalizations, and 46 deaths since West Nile arrived in the state in 2002.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most people with West Nile don’t have symptoms, but it can cause flu-like symptoms and sometimes leads to severe illness, including brain inflammation, and death.
A disproportionately high number of cases in South Dakota have involved inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
There is no vaccine for West Nile virus, so officials say protecting yourself from mosquito bites, especially during evening hours, remains vitally important to avoid becoming infected.
They offer such simple tips as applying mosquito repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone, param-menthane-diol, or IR3535 to clothes and exposed skin, and wearing pants and long sleeves in the evening;