SIOUX FALLS — South Dakota’s dry summer has helped spread the West Nile virus.
A state report says there have been 41 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness this year. That’s the biggest number since 2007. One person has died from the disease.
South Dakota disease specialist Lon Kightlinger says the actual number of West Nile cases is much higher. Most people don’t know they have the virus, but it can cause body aches, chills and low-grade fever.
Health officials say this summer’s dry weather has made people worry less about mosquitoes. But the type of mosquito that carries the virus does well in dry weather with occasional rain.
Kightlinger said that doctors should order a blood test if they suspect a patient has West Nile.