By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
A positive reading on a mosquito pool in Chase County for West Nile Virus has been received by Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD).
The reading came from trapping and testing done by SWNPHD in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) the first week of August.
Several weeks ago SWNPHD received word that a positive test of West Nile Virus for a resident living in the eight-county SWNPHD area was received.
Myra Stoney of the agency said last Friday that no other positive tests on humans have been received. She declined to release the county in which the resident lives.
Trapping of mosquitoes in Chase County covers six sites over a nine-week period.
Chase County Schools freshman Katelyn Wheeler sets the traps on a Monday and collects the mosquitoes the next day.
The mosquitoes are attracted to the cloth traps by carbon dioxide in dry ice.
Wheeler puts the mosquitoes in vials and sends them to the state DHHS lab.
Employees there separate regular mosquitoes from the type that can carry the virus and tests them.
Traps are set on property belonging to Byron Hust, Randy Hayes and Imperial Auction Market in Imperial, and three sites near Enders.
West Nile Virus can cause various reactions in humans. Four out of five people who are infected will not show any symptoms.
Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.
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.
To avoid mosquito bites, DHHS recommends:
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.