Nebraska second in nation for West Nile cases
Human West Nile virus cases continue to be reported in Nebraska above what is expected for this time of year, particularly from the eastern part of the state.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent biweekly West Nile virus report, Nebraska was second only to North Dakota in overall cases and first in the number of severe, neuroinvasive cases.
Chase County is among two counties in southwest Nebraska that has confirmed infected mosquitoes in traps placed by health officials.
To date, Nebraska has reported 79 cases with 42 of the cases being neuroinvasive, including four deaths.
“Although we’ve had a rather dramatic shift into east-central Nebraska, it’s important to remember that it’s statewide,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
Only about 20 percent of those infected experience symptoms, which are generally flu-like, such as fever and muscle weakness. Symptoms of the more serious West Nile encephalitis include inflammation of the brain, disorientation, convulsions and paralysis.
A risk of infection will remain until the first hard frost.