Newsroom > DHHS News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2011

CONTACT
Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356
leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov

Person Tests Positive for West Nile

Note: Sound bites will be available shortly at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/audio.aspx.

Lincoln – A Dawson County man in his 20s tested positive for West Nile Virus according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). He was not hospitalized. It’s the first positive human case seen so far this season.

“It’s well understood that West Nile Virus is part of our landscape now,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. “If mosquitoes are around assume West Nile is around and take precautions.”

Fight the bite:

  • Apply mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks.
  • Avoid going out at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Eliminate standing water to reduce mosquito breeding sites.

Mosquito pools in Dawson, Douglas, Garfield, Lincoln, Madison and Richardson Counties also tested positive for the virus along with a bird in Boone County.

West Nile is transmitted to people through the bite of a mosquito that picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people who are infected have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Less than one out of 150 people who get bitten by an infected mosquito and become infected will get seriously ill. However, people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.

West Nile fever includes flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle weakness. Symptoms of the more serious West Nile encephalitis include inflammation of the brain, disorientation, convulsions and paralysis.

DHHS tests mosquitoes and birds to determine the level of virus in the state. With the assistance of local health departments, DHHS is collecting and testing dead birds. To report dead birds, contact your local health department. To find your department, go to http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/puh_oph_lhd.aspx 

More information about West Nile Virus can be found on the DHHS website at www.dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/wnv.aspx

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