SDSU Graduate Contracts West Nile

Anna Heppler

Anna Heppler

A 25 year-old Brookings man lies critically ill in a Sioux Falls hospital with West Nile virus.

The family wishes to keep his name private.

The 2002 SDSU graduate contracted the virus over Labor Day weekend while working on his farm just outside of Brookings.

The victim’s brother says that he came home to his brother sick with cold-like symptoms.

“My brother was complaining of double vision,” he said.

Three days later the man’s father took him to Brookings Hospital where they tested him for West Nile.

“The West Nile test takes two days to come back,” the man’s brother said, “but they took him to McKennan Hospital that night, then the Sioux Falls doctors diagnosed him with West Nile.”

The victim is in a medically induced coma.

“I am worried that my brother will not have the same personality,” the brother said.”He could lay in the ICU for a long time. Our family is coping day by day and hoping for the best. We did think that this could happen to us. I was out working with him the time he got bit. That could be me laying there.”

The Brookings man’s condition is pending.

When McKennan Hospital was contacted about the victim’s condition, they offered no other information besides his status of critical condition.

Brookings County has had six known human cases of West Nile.

For more information on the virus contact the Health Department at 1-800-932-4027 or go to the state homepage at