First case of West Nile virus in Lancaster County

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department has had its first reported case of West Nile virus infection in Lancaster County for the 2010 season.

The person is over 60 years of age. Most people are infected with West Nile virus 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.

Prevention of bites is the best way to prevent West Nile disease. People can avoid mosquito bites by limiting their time outside during dawn or dusk, prime times for mosquitoes to feed. If you do go outside during these times, wear lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants and use insect repellent on exposed skin.

Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. (Be sure to follow label directions.) Even when you are only outdoors for a short time that's a long enough time to get a mosquito bite. 

Many people infected with the West Nile virus 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. 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.