West Nile virus found in Lancaster County mosquitoes

By: Channel 8 Eyewitness Newsroom

Press Release from Department of Health and Human Services

Recently, a mosquito pool in Lancaster County tested positive for West Nile virus. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) are continuing to track the virus and encourage citizens to take preventive measures.

DHHS started its West Nile virus surveillance at the beginning of June. West Nile virus is transmitted to people through the bite of a mosquito. There are no human cases so far. DHHS and LLCHD encourage citizens to report dead birds to the agencies, so the birds can be tested.

DHHS and LLCHD also encourage citizens to take preventive measures:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, socks, and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Use repellents containing DEET, picaridin, and/or IR3535. In addition, some lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. 
  • Limit outdoor activity around dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Drain standing water around your home. Standing water and warmth breed mosquitoes.

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat West Nile virus. Most people who are infected will have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. 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 68 human cases in Nebraska and two deaths.

For more information about West Nile virus, go to www.dhhs.ne.gov/wnv.  

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