West Nile Virus Hits Central Nebraska; Two Deaths Reported in The State

GRAND ISLAND – Six human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been reported so far this month in the Central District. West Nile Virus is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall.

Two West Nile Virus deaths for the 2021 season have been confirmed in the Three Rivers District Health Department (3RPHD) that includes Dodge, Saunders, and Washington counties. Both individuals were older adults with underlying health conditions.

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. However, about 1 in every 5 infected people develop symptoms including: fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, and occasionally a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. About 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks.

Central District Health Department continues to monitor mosquito activity and to larvicide standing water to prevent mosquitos from fully developing and spreading the virus. The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. CDHD advises the following:

  • Use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET. Always read and follow the directions on the package.
  • Avoid outdoor dusk and dawn activities.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
  • Maintain good screens on your windows and doors.
  • Eliminate standing water whenever possible. Empty water from flowerpots, buckets, and barrels. Replace water in pet dishes often and replace water in bird baths weekly. Keep children’s wading pools empty and tilted on their sides when not in use.
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