Preventing West Nile Virus during your Black Hills Vacation

April 28, 2014

West Nile Virus is a term we hear thrown around, especially during the sunny months when mosquitos are in their prime.  Unfortunately, many do not realize the severity West Nile Virus can have on a person infected. Last summer South Dakota had the highest rates of West Nile virus for humans in the United States.  Before summer strikes and is filled with mosquito bites it is time to take precautionary measures to ensure West Nile virus does not affect you and your family. 

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that started in Africa and has spread recently to North America.  West Nile Virus is most commonly spread through mosquito bites.  While many people do not suffer symptoms after being infected, those bitten run the risk of being affected with neurological diseases such as West Nile encephalitis (causes inflammation of the brain), West Nile meningitis (causes inflammation of membrane of spinal and brain cord), and West Nile poliomyelitis (results similar to polio).  By the beginning of August last year, South Dakota had 21 cases of human West Nile Virus, the most in the United States.  While this number may not seem like a lot, a whopping 10 of those cases resulted in neurological disease. There is also no current human vaccination for West Nile Virus, so prevention by humans is imperative.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus

Knowing the symptoms of West Nile virus can help you get treatment for this scary disease quickly, before it gets worse. 

Severe Cases

·         High Fever

·         Neck stiffness

·          Severe headache

·         Coma

·         Vision loss

·         Disorientation

·         Convulsions or tremors

·         Weakness

Mild Cases

·         Nausea and vomiting

·         High fever

·         Swollen lymph nodes

·         Headache

·         Skin rash on stomach, chest, or back

·         Body aches

Some people will suffer from no symptoms at all, but if there is any chance you may have the disease please seek medical attention quickly. 


Prevention of West Nile Virus

·         Empty unused swimming pools.

·         Always use mosquito repellent with DEET as an ingredient. Parents should always spray children with repellent especially if outside for prolonged periods such as sports’ practices or camping.   

·         Wear long sleeves or pants if engaging in outdoor activities as sunrise or dusk, since these times in the day are primetimes for mosquitos.

·         Clean out roof gutters.

·         Make sure all windows and doors are securely sealed.

·         Do not keep any container with standing water in it around your home.  Some items include flower pots, tire swings, and buckets since these are breeding areas for mosquitos.

·         Change water in outside dog bowls daily and in bird baths weekly.


Avoiding mosquito bites is the main way to prevent infection of the West Nile virus.  Understanding symptoms of the virus will allow you and your family to seek proper medical attention if needed.  The West Nile virus can be very dangerous but by taking simple precautions when you are outside during the muggy summer months will lessen your chance of infection and help you enjoy the beautiful outdoors without worrying about mosquito bites.


About the Palmer Gulch Resort

The Black Hills provide ample opportunities for outdoor sports, sightseeing excursions, and outdoor adventures. All year long, the Palmer Gulch Resort is here to serve as your home away from home. To learn more about Palmer Gulch Resort, or to make a reservation, visit our website at or call 1-800-562-8503. Information packets are available for group gatherings, as well as GPS directions and maps of the area.


Last Modified: 06/25/2014 12:22:02 pm MDT