Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
July 2, 2015

Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9108

First Human Case of West Nile Virus Reported to DHHS

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Lincoln – A person in the Central District Health Department area (Hall, Hamilton, and Merrick Counties) tested positive for West Nile virus according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The person was not hospitalized.

“This is the first human case so far this season and we expect to see more,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “West Nile virus can be a mild illness for some and serious for others. If you haven’t been taking steps to protect yourself, it’s important to start now.” 
Preventive tips:
  • Make sure your mosquito repellent contains DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil or IR3535.
  • Dress in long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when you’re outside.
  • Dusk and dawn are times when mosquitoes are most active. Limit outdoor activities.
  • Drain standing water around your home. Standing water and warmth breed mosquitoes.

West Nile virus 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 will have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms.  Some people will develop a fever with other symptoms like headache, body aches, vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Less than one percent of people will develop a serious illness like encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues).  People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.
DHHS started its West Nile virus surveillance at the beginning of June. One mosquito pool tested positive in Webster County. No birds have tested positive for the virus.
WNV in Nebraska
Year                 Human Cases                Deaths
2014                 142                                8
2013                 226                                5
2012                 193                                4
2011                 29                                  0
2010                 39                                  2
West Nile virus in humans statewide map 2002-2014 -
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