Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile in Nebraska Earlier than Usual

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Two Rivers Public Health Department wants you to know that mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus have been found in Cherry County, Nebraska.

No positive human cases have been reported in our seven county district at this time. In 2013, however, our district had the most human West Nile virus cases in Nebraska with a total of 33. 10 were the more severe West Nile Encephalitis/Meningitis. It is important to remember that most of the human West Nile cases are reported in August and September.

West Nile virus is spread to people after they are bitten by a mosquito which has the virus. It is important to reduce your chance of being bitten by mosquitoes. Take extra precautions especially mornings and evenings because this is when mosquitoes are more active. Wear lightweight, long sleeved shirts and pants. Be sure to wear insect repellent containing DEET, IR3535, Oil of Eucalyptus or Picaridin.

Some recommendations for using DEET are:

• Do not use a product that combines insect repellent and sun screen.
• Read all instructions on the label before applying.
• Use the right concentration for the time you will be outdoors.
• Do not spray in enclosed areas; do not use DEET near food.
• Apply DEET on exposed skin; do not use under clothing.
• Do not use DEET over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
• Wash skin with soap and water after returning indoors; wash treated clothing.
• Do not let children apply DEET.
• Do not use DEET on the hands of young children; do not apply around the eyes and mouth.
• Do not apply directly on children. Apply to your own hands, and then put it on the child.
• If a person is having a reaction to a product containing DEET, wash the area immediately and contact your health care provider or a local poison control center. 1-800-222-1222

West Nile virus may cause fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. These usually last a few days. A few people will develop the more severe West Nile Encephalitis/Meningitis form which often includes high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These problems may last several weeks and you should seek medical attention.