Health Department Urges Precautions During West Nile Virus Season

Published on July 23, 2021

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) reminds residents to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites and help prevent West Nile virus in our communities. This season’s first human West Nile virus case was recently reported in northeast Nebraska, according to health officials. The virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.

LLCHD officials report that mosquito pools are now testing positive for West Nile virus in Nebraska. The Health Department asks the public to reduce the breeding areas for mosquitoes by taking these steps:

  • Dump small wading pools daily and maintain swimming pools properly.
  • Clear debris, weeds, and litter from drainage ways.
  • Change water in birdbaths weekly and pet bowls daily.
  • Store tires, buckets, and containers where they can’t collect water.
  • Fill low spots in yards.
  • Maintain garden ponds and fountains and always keep water flowing.

The LLCHD also urges residents to avoid mosquito bites by following these precautions:

  • Limit time outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active–usually a half hour before sunrise to about one hour after sunrise and a half hour before sunset to about two hours afterwards.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks when outside.
  • Use an EPA-registered insect repellent when spending time outside such as those with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane diol, or 2-undecanone. Visit for more information.

Most people who become infected with the virus do not develop any symptoms. About one in five will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than 1% of people infected will develop a serious illness like encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).

It is also important for horse owners to vaccinate their horses against West Nile virus. Questions about vaccination should be directed to a veterinarian.

For more information about West Nile virus, mosquito control, and standing water or mosquito breeding site complaints should contact the Health Department at 402-441-8002.

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