By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
A positive test of West Nile Virus for a resident living in southwest Nebraska has been reported to Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD).
Confirmation came from lab testing by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. SWNPHD serves Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Perkins and Red Willow Counties.
As of Monday the location of the resident had not been released. However, Myra Stoney of SWNPHD said the person doesn’t live in Chase County.
Tami Herskowitz, surveillance nurse at SWNPHD, said it’s important to take precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
“West Nile Virus is not limited to the locations which have positive tested pools of mosquitoes or residents,” she noted.
“West Nile Virus spreads when mosquitoes get the virus from infected birds and pass it on to other birds, animals and people,” she said. “There is no vaccine but there are simple steps you can take to avoid getting the virus.”
Those steps include:
Applying mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus;
Wearing long-sleeved shirt, pants and socks;
Avoiding going out at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active;
Eliminating standing water to reduce mosquito breeding sites.
Most people, approximately 80 percent or four out of five who are infected with the virus, will not show any symptoms at all.
A few people, about one in 150, will develop severe illness. Severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
More information concerning West Nile Virus may be found at SWNPHD’s web site www.swhealth.ne.gov or by calling the McCook office at (308) 345-4223.