Mosquitoes positive for West Nile virus found in Chase County trappings

    Mosquitos in Chase County have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), according to the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department.  This follows confirmed positive mosquitos also found in counties surrounding the nine-county health district.
    “West Nile Virus is not limited to the locations which have positive tested mosquitos.  People get West Nile Virus from an infected female mosquito which bites them,” said Melissa Propp, RN, Surveillance Nurse at SWNPHD.
    “There is no cure for WNV.  The best defense against WNV is to prevent getting mosquito bites,” she said.
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
    About one in five people who are infected with WNV will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
    Less than 1 percent of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).  These symptoms can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis.
    People with medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease, are also at greater risk for serious illness with the West Nile Virus.
    “Prevention is the best way to avoid WNV,” said Propp. “DEET in your repellent is the most effective.”  
    An additional protection measure is to utilize mosquito dunks in standing water that cannot be eliminated.  It is a natural mosquito larvicide.  It kills mosquito larvae but is harmless to birds, fish, wildlife and pets.  Mosquito dunks typically last 30 days and can be purchased at retail stores.
    From 1999 to 2015, the CDC recorded a total of 43,937 WNV cases with 1,911 resulting in death. Nebraska had a total of 3,893 cases since 2002 and 68 deaths.
    More information on West Nile Virus may be found at their web site www.swhealth.ne.gov or call the McCook office at 308-345-4223 or Imperial office at 308-882-4269.

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