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KCAU 9 News

First case of West Nile virus for 2023 in Nebraska detected

By Wesley Thoene,

2023-06-06

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LINCOLN, Neb. ( KCAU ) — The first case in Nebraska of West Nile virus in a human for the year has been detected, health officials stated.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Tuesday that the virus was found in the Three Rivers Public Health District , which includes Dodge, Saunders, and Washington counties.

Authorities said the person who tested positive was not hospitalized.

West Nile virus can be transferred by a mosquito that fed on an infected bird. The DHHS point out that humans cannot get the virus directly from dead birds. To protect from the disease, Nebraska residents are asked to avoid mosquitoes. This can be done in the following ways.

  • Using a repellant that contains DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil or IR3535
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks when outside
  • Taking extra precautions when going outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
  • Draining standing water around your home. Standing water and warmth breed mosquitoes
  • Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days
  • Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted trays at least once a week, if not more often
  • Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight” and repair or replace torn screens

The release stated that most people who are infected have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Meanwhile, less than 1% of those infected may become severely ill. Those who are over 50 years old or those with weakened immune systems have a higher risk.

Mild symptoms of the virus are as follows.

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Skin rash and
  • Swollen lymph glands

Below are severe symptoms.

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Stupor
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Tremors
  • Occasional convulsions
  • Paralysis​

If you think you or a family member might have West Nile virus disease, you are asked to speak with your health care provider. You can also find more information about the West Nile virus in Nebraska on the DHHS’s website .

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