West Nile Virus
NCDHD’s Environmental Health program tracks dead birds and helps with testing mosquitoes to monitor West Nile Virus in our 9 county district. Mosquito pools are tested in O’Neill and Valentine area.
West Nile Virus is contracted through mosquitoes that have been bitten by 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.
NCDHD recommends the following precautions to protect yourself and others from West Nile Virus:
- Applying an EPA approved mosquito repellant (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535). (Environmental Protection Agency: Insect Repellents)
- 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.
Local Contact Information for handling and submitting birds:
NCDHD collects sick or dead birds that are not damaged or decayed for West Nile Virus testing. If you find a sick or dead bird, DO NOT touch the bird. Use gloves or an inverted bag to safely dispose of or transport it.
To report sick or dead birds, please call NCDHD at 402-336-2406 or toll-free at 1-877-336-2406 and ask for Heidi. NCDHD can make arrangements to pick up the bird if in the O’Neill area. If you are outside of O’Neill, the bird can be taken to your local veterinarian for testing.
Current data & reports:
For more information about West Nile Virus, visit the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services West Nile Virus page or the Center for Disease Control (CDC) West Nile Virus page.