Health officials on Tuesday confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus in Douglas County for 2019.

The man, who is over 50 years old, was not hospitalized.

Officials reported finding West Nile in mosquito pools in the county for the first time last week. They said Tuesday that infected mosquitoes have been found in multiple sample groups at monitoring sites near Zorinsky Lake Park and Seymour Smith Park. West Nile cases typically increase in late summer and early fall.

The Health Department said high populations of mosquitoes have been reported since May.

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Earlier this month, Nebraska health officials confirmed the state’s first death because of the virus in a northern Nebraska woman, who was between 25 and 50 years old and had an underlying health condition. She began experiencing symptoms outside the usual West Nile season.

Iowa officials previously reported that state’s first case of West Nile. The man, who lives in western Iowa’s Audubon County and is 61 to 80 years old, has recovered. Last year, Nebraska had a nation-high 245 human cases of West Nile, including 71 in Douglas County.

Most people infected with West Nile have no symptoms or mild ones such as fever, headache and a rash. Fewer than one in 150 will develop a serious illness. But people 50 and older and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable and more likely to suffer serious consequences.

To protect against West Nile, health department officials recommend:

  • Applying a mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, following label instructions.
  • Minimizing activity outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wearing loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants, shoes and socks when outdoors.

To keep down mosquito numbers near homes:

  • Remove standing water and empty buckets and pet dishes daily and bird baths weekly.
  • Clear weeds and other obstructions that can keep water from draining.
  • Follow proper swimming pool maintenance and keep water moving in ponds and fountains.

Julie Anderson is a medical reporter for The World-Herald. She covers health care and health care trends and developments, including hospitals, research and treatments. Follow her on Twitter @JulieAnderson41. Phone: 402-444-1066.

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