Get out your bug spray. Douglas County health officials say there could be a late-summer increase in West Nile-infected mosquitoes.
Jon Ruff, a registered environmental health specialist with the Douglas County Health Department, said that the stagnant water leftover from flooding probably increased mosquito populations, but that it’s receding water that has him worried.
Ruff said there’s a common misconception that more water means more mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus.
“That’s not the case,” Ruff said. “When there’s plenty of water, the birds and mosquitoes don’t have to share the same water sources, and the number of cases actually goes down.”
But when mosquitoes and birds have to share a water source, the disease is more easily passed back and forth. Now an increased mosquito population will soon be vying for a decreasing water supply.
Sign up for World-Herald news alerts
Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.
“This is an uncanny year, we had more flooding than I’ve seen in my lifetime,” Ruff said. “I can only speculate on what’s going to happen.”
So far this year, four mosquito sample groups in Douglas County have tested positive for West Nile, including samples from Seymour Smith Park and Zorinsky Lake Park. Mosquitoes from five other Nebraska counties have tested positive for West Nile, as of early August .
One human case of the West Nile virus has been reported in Douglas County this year. And in a separate case, a northern Nebraska woman died from the virus in May.
Ruff spent an afternoon last week collecting mosquito traps from various locations in Douglas County for testing.
The trapped mosquitoes are sent to a lab in Lincoln, where changes in population, species and the number infected with West Nile are recorded.
With the information collected, the Health Department takes steps to treat stagnant water with a growth regulator that prevents the mosquitoes from reaching a mature state and being able to bite.
“Our success rate does go up when the public is willing to engage in this mosquito control,” Ruff said. “They should try to dump or treat anything with stagnant water, gutters, tires, birdbaths and pools if they have (stagnant water).”
1 of 17
Matthew Eledge and husband Elliot Dougherty plan to explain her out-of-the-ordinary birth to their daughter in terms she can understand: that her grandmother furnished the garden where she grew, and that her aunt, Lea Yribe, generously supplied the seeds.
One pothole did a passenger a favor when the ambulance he was in struck it, according to first responders. Gretna firefighters were taking a man suffering chest pain and a high heart rate to the hospital. While en route to Lakeside Hospital, the ambulance hit a pothole. The jolt returned the patient’s heart rate to normal.
Thought to be brain dead, doctors took former Creighton Bluejays play-by-play announcer T. Scott Marr off life support. Before his family settled on a funeral home, they decided to see their dad one more time. When they got there, he was awake and speaking.
Karla Perez was 22 weeks pregnant when she suffered a catastrophic brain bleed and was declared brain dead. Her unborn child was alive, but wouldn't survive delivery. So family and doctors kept her on life support. Angel was born eight weeks later.
Darnisha Ladd never imagined Snapchat would help save her life after she suffered a stroke. But needing a precise timeline of events, doctors and family relied on a post on the phone app and were able to give her a needed medication in time.
Lindsey and Derek Teten's triplets are one in a million. Literally. The Nebraska City couple's three daughters, born in late June 2017, are identical and were conceived without fertility treatments. The girls were the second set of spontaneous triplets born at Methodist Women's Hospital. The first set, also girls, was born in 2015.
What makes Jamey Dougall's health story unusual is his treatment plan. Dougall, who's legally blind, uses a special pair of glasses to see. He's seen his wife Kandice, his two daughters, and now, his favorite college football team — the Huskers.
Doctors diagnosed the paralysis that was creeping up Justin Chenier's legs as Guillain-Barre syndrome. It would become so serious that the Omaha man would nearly lose consciousness while screaming because of the pain. The syndrome was triggered by West Nile virus.
Kenze Messman's been diagnosed with several chronic illnesses. Sometimes her heart rate climbs, seizures send her to the floor and migraines leave her in the dark. And one of the ailments causes the 17-year-old to have allergic reactions to almost everything.
The skin on Sharan Bryson's leg was black from lack of circulation. She felt nothing but a sharp, stabbing pain. The leg was dead, and her best option was amputation. Bryson bounced back and put her hard work to the test by running a 5K.
Chase Tiemann has had numerous surgeries in his young life, including the amputation of his left arm. The Omaha boy has a condition that causes tumors — sometimes benign, sometimes cancerous — to form on his body. To boost his spirits after amputation, the Papillion Fire Department named Chase an honorary firefighter.
Wesley Woods battled heart disease for 20 years. He'd racked up nine heart attacks, multiple surgeries and one heart transplant. He was tired of hospitals. Tired of chest pain. Tired of feeling tired. Woods was lucky — he received a second transplant.
Amber Kudrna wasn't sure she'd be able to have a child of her own. After two kidney transplants, doctors gave the Omaha woman a laundry list of potential pregnancy complications. Kudrna and husband Adam weighed their options and, in September 2018, welcomed a baby boy.
Joe Nolan couldn't take his son James' pain away. But he could find a way to share it. Nolan got a tattoo that arched across his head, just like his son's scar. James was born with a handful of ailments, including one that regularly requires his skull to be reshaped.