By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has announced that a human case of West Nile Virus has been reported in the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD) health district.
In addition, a mosquito pool in Chase County also recently tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).
Tami Herskowitz, surveillance nurse for SWNPHD, said she could not comment on which of the six pools in Chase County tested for the virus were involved.
Katelyn Wheeler, a Chase County Schools sophomore, collects test samples from the pools for SWNPHD.
Nor could Herskowitz release information concerning the positive human case in the SWNPHD, which covers Chase, Dundy, Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Perkins and Red Willow Counties.
“I am highly encouraging residents to prevent getting mosquito bites with personal protection and making adjustments to their surroundings,” she said.
To prevent mosquito bites, Herskowitz suggests limiting time outside from dusk until dawn;
Wearing long-sleeves and pants;
Repairing all holes in screens;
Dumping stagnant water and keeping gutters clean;
Using an insect repellent with DEET and repeating the application every four hours.
People with medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease are at a greater risk for serious illness with WNV. “If you think a family member might have WNV, consult your health care provider for a diagnosis,” she counseled.
“Prevention is the best way to avoid WNV and DEET in your repellent is the most effective,” she said.
Precautions while using DEET include not applying repellent to young children’s hands, mouth or around eyes;
Don’t allow young children to apply repellent themselves;
Do not breath in, swallow or get into the eyes;
Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
More information on WNV may be found at www.swhealth.ne.gov, or by calling the SWNPHD office at (308) 345-4223.