Release Date: Monday, July 11, 2016
Contact: Heidi Hostert, Emergency Response Coordinator
One dead American Blackbird in the North Central District Health Department Region (NCDHD) has tested positive for West Nile Virus. NCDHD traps mosquitoes in several locations across their region to test for West Nile Virus. At this time, no mosquito pools in the NCDHD region have tested positive.
West Nile Virus is contracted through mosquitoes that have bitten an infected bird. Generally birds cannot pass the virus to humans. West Nile Virus symptoms are flu-like and can include a slight fever or headache. Severe symptoms are not likely, but can lead to encephalitis, which can cause inflammation of the brain, disorientation, convulsions and paralysis. People over 50, infants, and pregnant women are especially susceptible to this disease.
Across the state, seven positive West Nile Virus mosquito pools have been detected. This is an indicator that West Nile Virus is circulating in the environment. Nebraskans in all regions should take precautions to protect themselves.
North Central District Health Department would recommend the following precautions:
- Applying an EPA approved mosquito repellant (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535).
- Limiting exposure when outdoors by wearing long sleeve shirts and pants.
- Limiting time spent outdoors when Culex mosquitoes are most active, typically dusk to midnight.
- Getting rid of standing water where mosquitoes may breed.
The North Central District Health Department will continue to take calls regarding sick or dead birds that have been found; however, the positive West Nile Virus bird indicates NCDHD will no longer be accepting birds for testing. If you find a dead bird that may have died from West Nile Virus, do not touch the bird. Use gloves or an inverted bag to safely dispose of it. To report dead birds, please call NCDHD at 1-877-336-2406.
For more information call the North Central District Health Department at 1-877-336-2406 or visit the DHHS Web site at: http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/wnv.aspx. North Central District Health Department serves Antelope, Boyd, Brown, Cherry, Holt, Keya Paha, Knox, Pierce, and Rock Counties.