The mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, were collected in York County, about 100 miles west of Omaha, as part of state and local health departments’ efforts to trap, track and monitor the number of West Nile-carrying mosquitoes that are present in Nebraska communities.
Dr. Tom Safranek, Nebraska’s state epidemiologist, said state officials have not yet tested the insects for the viruses that cause those illnesses.
However, he said it’s unlikely that the mosquitoes will be infected with the viruses. To transmit them, the mosquitoes would have to bite a person who is currently infected and then bite an uninfected person. None of the diseases are endemic to Nebraska. Only a person who had recently traveled to such areas would be likely to be infected.
This type of mosquito bites primarily during the daytime and feeds only on people. And it can’t fly very far, only about 500 feet.
“I think it’s unlikely we’ll find any of these viruses in any of these mosquitoes,” he said.
Health officials, in fact, were surprised to find the mosquitoes at all, Safranek said. They’ve been setting traps for mosquitoes for some time in about 140 locations around the state. Initially, they found three or four of the Zika-carrying species in traps meant for West Nile-carrying mosquitoes. They went back and set traps that target Aedes aegypti and netted about 40.
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“It was really kind of a surprise,” he said. “We just never thought it would really be an issue for us.”
Safranek said health officials first plan to work with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do genetic testing to see whether they can determine where in the world the mosquitoes originated.
If they have mosquitoes left, they’ll seek to test for the viruses.
One theory, he said, is that the mosquitoes came into the state as eggs, possibly in used tires, from another location.
Jeff Hamik, state public health entomologist, said the mosquitoes initially were found in a more residential area. Investigators now are trying to trace them and see whether they can determine where locally they came from.
Nebraska has had one reported case of Zika this year in a person who had traveled to an area where the virus is more common, Safranek said. Travel has been involved in all of the sporadic reports the state has had of the virus since the outbreak in Central and South America.
According to the CDC, no local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States in 2018 and 2019.
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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.
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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.
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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.