The South Heartland District Health Department that mosquitoes collected in Adams County have tested positive for West Nile virus.
“Mosquitoes collected by the City of Hastings mosquito control staff and tested by the State of Nebraska were found to contain West Nile virus,” Bever reported. “Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus can pass the virus to humans and other animals when they bite. We continue to encourage people to protect themselves from mosquito bites to prevent West Nile illness.”
The Health Department says people infected with West Nile virus may experience headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. They usually recover completely, but may experience fatigue and weakness for months.
The Health Department says less than 1% of people infected with West Nile virus may develop more serious illness with severe neurological symptoms caused by infection in the brain and surrounding tissues (encephalitis or meningitis). Symptoms can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. The effects may be long-lasting or permanent, and can be fatal.
The Health Department says there is no vaccine available to protect people against West Nile virus. Bever suggests five ways to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites: (1) Limit your outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, (2) If you are participating in outdoor activities at times when mosquitoes are active, cover your skin with lightweight pants and long sleeve shirts and (3) use an insect repellent containing EPA-registered ingredients DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or picaradin for effective and long lasting protection, (4) install or repair screens in doors and windows, and (5) drain any standing water around your home to remove places where mosquitoes can breed.
Bever said that this is the sixth consecutive year that mosquitoes collected in Adams County have tested positive for West Nile virus.