Mosquitoes in southwest Nebraska have recently tested positive for West Nile Virus.
According to the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department in McCook, two out of six tested pools of mosquitoes in Chase County have tested positive for the virus. This follows two reported cases in Hamilton and Butler Counties of men, both over the age of 50, testing positive for West Nile Virus.
Officials with the health department say it’s important to take necessary precautions to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Myra Stoney, Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department Executive Director, says West Nile Virus is not limited to the locations which have positive mosquito pools.
Stoney recommends applying mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when outdoors especially at dusk at dawn, avoiding going outside around dusk and dawn, and eliminating standing water to reduce mosquito breeding sites.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus can vary. Most people, approximately 80%, who are infected with West Nile will not show any symptoms at all. Up to 20% of infected people will 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 1 in 150, will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness, paralysis and, in rare cases, death.
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