Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2010

Contact
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or marla.augustine@nebraska.gov

Flooding and Mosquitoes

People Should Take Precautions


Lincoln—Flooding will result in an increased number of mosquitoes, according to the state’s public health veterinarian.

“Flood waters are ideal for breeding mosquitoes because they lay their eggs in water,” said Dr. Annette Bredthauer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “It takes less than a week for mosquito larvae to become adults. So, it’s time to be diligent about applying mosquito repellent.”

In addition to using repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, to avoid mosoquitoes, people should wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks, and avoid going out at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

It’s also important to eliminate standing water wherever possible. Empty containers like bird baths, buckets and unused tires. In a pool of standing water, mosquito-killing products labeled for elimination of mosquito larvae can be added.

DHHS is working with the state’s local health departments to combat mosquitoes by supplying larvicides and DEET repellent wipes.

“Most of the new mosquitoes will be the nuisance kind,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer. “But it’s important to focus on avoiding mosquito bites because they can carry diseases like Western equine encephalitis and West Nile.”

The kind of mosquitoes that carry West Nile generally don’t show up until later in the summer, under dry conditions. However, the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus this year have been found in Douglas and Lincoln counties.

The mosquitoes were found as a result of the state’s first round of trapping. DHHS and the local health departments conduct mosquito trapping every year to determine if the virus is active in the state.

“We are detecting West Nile virus in mosquitoes earlier this year than in previous years,” Dr. Schaefer said. “West Nile is now part of Nebraska’s landscape and we can expect to have some cases every year.”

No human cases have yet been reported.

More information can be found on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.ne.gov

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