GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — The Central District Health Department reported Monday that West Nile virus has been detected in the mosquito population in Hall County. The mosquito or mosquitoes containing the virus came from Grand Island.
West Nile virus was also found in mosquito pools in the Omaha metro area earlier this month. The infected pools include two in Seymour Smith Park and two in Zorinsky Lake Park.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. In turn, mosquitoes can pass the virus to humans. Viral activity has been low in the state this year. But health departments are urging everyone to take precautions.
In a statement, Environmental Health Specialist Nathan Kush of Grand Island said, “Even though viral activity is low, the presence of West Nile virus in the area does warrant some attention with mosquitoes. Especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.”
Experts say most people who are infected have no symptoms or experience only mild, flu-like symptoms.
It is estimated that approximately one in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age. However, people older than age 50 and some people with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk when infected.
The easiest and best way to avoid West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites.
- When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient such as DEET. Follow the directions on the package.
- Use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at dusk and dawn, or consider staying indoors during these hours.
- Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes. Replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
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