By: Jordan Onwiler
West Nile virus is present in the Central
District Health Department service area. While there has only been one confirmed human case in central Nebraska (coming from Hamilton county) of the
West Nile virus, it has been detected in the mosquito population and the bird
"Mosquito Numbers are fairly low at this time due to the dry conditions" says Jeremy Collinson, environmental health supervisor. "However, caution needs to be taken when outdoors as there is currently viral activity in the area."
The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. One way to do this is to use insect repellent containing deet when outside.
More tips to avoid mosquito bites are to wear long sleeves and pants when outside during the mosquitoes active times (dusk and dawn), or just stay inside during these times of the day.
Make sure doors and windows have good screens to keep out the mosquitoes.
Also make sure to get rid of the areas around your home that mosquitoes might breed in. This includes standing water from flower pots, buckets, and barrels. Change water in pet dishes and bird baths on a regular basis, and drill holes in tire swings so the water can drain out.
Keep pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used. Pool covers are also great, but don't let puddles of water accumulate on top of the cover.
Most people who are infected by a mosquito have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Less than one out of 150 people become infected or get seriously ill when bitten by an infected mosquito.
However, people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.
Symptoms of West Nile encephalitis include inflammation of the brain, disorientation, convulsions and paralysis.
So far this year throughout the state, three human cases, two blood donors, five birds, and 80 mosquito pools have tested positive for WNV.