Health Department Reports 11 Cases of West Nile in Nebraskans So - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Health Department Reports 11 Cases of West Nile in Nebraskans So Far This Year

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West Nile virus activity is ramping up among Nebraskans as the last days of summer approach.

Eleven human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Nebraska so far this summer. Three of those cases were reported in the Two Rivers Public Health Department covering south-central Nebraska.

Three people have been hospitalized because of the virus. And to avoid future infections, the Department of Health and Human Services is sharing a few tips to keep from being bitten by mosquitoes that could be carrying West Nile virus.

Those tips include:

  • Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
  • Dress in long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when you're outside.
  • Dusk and dawn are times when mosquitoes are most active. Limit outdoor activities at these times.
  • Drain standing water around your home. Standing water and warmth promote the breeding of mosquitoes.

West Nile virus is transmitted to people through the bite of a mosquito that picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird, which is why the best way to avoid West Nile is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Mosquito pools in 14 counties have tested positive for the virus, including Adams, Dawson, Hall, Lincoln, Madison and Phelps counties.

According to DHHS, most people who are infected will have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Some people will develop a fever with other symptoms like headache, body aches, vomiting, fatigue and weakness.

However some -- less than one percent of people -- will develop a serious illness like encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues). People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.

Last year there were 193 human cases of West Nile virus in Nebraska and four deaths.

More information about West Nile virus can be found on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.ne.gov/wnv.

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