Human cases of West Nile virus reported to DHHS for 2020


LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) —Then people have recently tested positive for the West Nile virus, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Each of the following health departments has reported one human case – the Three Rivers Health Department which includes Dodge, Saunders and Washington counties, Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and Douglas County Health Department.

“West Nile virus is a mild disease for most, but can be severe for others so it is good to be in the habit of protecting yourself against mosquitoes,” CEO Dr. Tom Safranek said. “This is the first human West Nile case so far this season. Our surveillance data suggest that the West Nile virus is not circulating widely in mosquito populations, but basic prevention is still important to take advantage of mild weather with Nebraskans. “

Preventive Tips:

  • Use mosquito repellent when you spend time outside. Repelants with DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, 2-uncanone, and some lemon eucalyptus and para-menthene-diol products provide long-lasting protection.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when going out.
  • When mosquitoes are most active, then outside the time limit – in the evening and dawn.
  • Drain areas of standing water, where mosquitoes lay eggs.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquito bites. Mosquitoes get it by feeding infected birds and give it to people and animals. There were 28 human cases and one death in Nebraska last year.

Most people with West Nile virus will have no symptoms such as fever or headache or just mild flu-like symptoms. Anyone over 50 and with a weakened immune system is at increased risk of more serious infections.

Severe infection usually occurs five to 15 days after exposure and may begin rapidly in the form of high fever, body aches, vomiting, fatigue, stiff neck, disorientation, and shivering. Symptoms consistent with more severe infections should be reported to a doctor.

DHHS introduced annual West Nile virus surveillance in June. Subscribe to the DHHS West Nile Virus webpage for the latest updates – www.dhhs.ne.gov/wnv

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