Posted By: KLKN Newsroom
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department is reporting the first human West Nile virus case in Lancaster County for 2013. In addition, LLCHD was recently notified that mosquitoes collected in late August were positive for WNV.
Most people are infected with WNV after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. The virus is not spread through casual contact, such as touching or kissing a person with the virus. The best way to prevent West Nile disease is to prevent mosquito bites by taking the following steps:
∙ Limit time outdoors during dawn or dusk.
∙ If you are outside during these times, wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants.
∙ Use an EPA-registered insect repellant containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for use on children under age three).
∙ Maintain good screens on your windows and doors.
When using insect repellents, follow these general precautions:
∙ Always follow the label instructions.
∙ Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing. Do not use repellents under clothing.
∙ Never use repellents over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
∙ Do not apply to eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears. When using sprays, do not spray directly on face – spray on hands first and then apply to face.
∙ Do not allow children to handle the product. When using on children, apply to your own hands first and then put it on the child. You may not want to apply to children's hands.
∙ Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. If biting insects do not respond to a thin film of repellent, then apply a bit more.
∙ After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water or bathe, and wash treated clothing before wearing it again.
∙ If you or your child gets a rash or other bad reaction from an insect repellent, stop using the repellent, wash it off with mild soap and water, and call a local poison control center for further guidance. If you go to a doctor because of the repellent, take it with you.
The Health Department asks the public to help reduce the breeding areas for mosquitoes by eliminating standing pools of water in your yard. That includes storing wading pools and containers where they cannot collect water; changing water in pet dishes and bird baths daily; clearing debris, weeds and litter from drainage ways; removing vegetation from sewage lagoons; drilling holes in tire swings; and filling low spots in your yard.
Many people infected with the WNV have no symptoms. If symptoms occur, they may include fever, headache and body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as little as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
Occasionally, a person can experience more severe symptoms that can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, unconsciousness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
More information can be found at health.lincoln.ne.gov.