GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — West Nile virus has been detected in the mosquito population in Hall County. West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. In turn, mosquitoes pass the virus to humans. Viral activity has been low throughout the State this year. However the Central District Health Department is urging everyone to take precautions.
Jeremy Collinson, Environmental Health Supervisor, states, “Even though mosquito numbers are low, the presence of West Nile virus in the area does warrant some attention with mosquito’s especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active”.
It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age, however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with WNV. Most people (about four out of five) who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop any type of illness (an asymptomatic infection), however you cannot know ahead of time if you'll get sick or not when infected.
The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
• When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient like DEET. Follow the directions on the package.
• Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
• Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
• Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.
At the end of the mosquito season, everyone still needs to be pro-active to protect themselves and their pets.