The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) is reporting the first human West Nile virus (WNV) case in Lancaster County for 2013. In addition, LLCHD was recently notified that mosquitoes collected in late August were positive for WNV.
Most people are infected with WNV after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. The virus is not spread through casual contact, such as touching or kissing a person with the virus. The best way to prevent West Nile disease is to prevent mosquito bites by taking the following steps:
When using insect repellents, follow these general precautions:
The Health Department asks the public to help reduce the breeding areas for mosquitoes by eliminating standing pools of water in your yard. That includes storing wading pools and containers where they cannot collect water; changing water in pet dishes and bird baths daily; clearing debris, weeds and litter from drainage ways; removing vegetation from sewage lagoons; drilling holes in tire swings; and filling low spots in your yard.
Many people infected with the WNV have no symptoms. If symptoms occur, they may include fever, headache and body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as little as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.
Occasionally, a person can experience more severe symptoms that can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, unconsciousness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
More information can be found at health.lincoln.ne.gov.