New tests underscore big West Nile presence this season

Three Rivers Public Health Department is reporting its second pool testing positive for West Nile Virus in the district.

Three Rivers' second positive West Nile mosquito pool has been reported from a trapping site in Dodge County.

Three Rivers has also been providing West Nile virus surveillance in Dodge, Washington, and Saunders counties by collecting and accepting dead birds for testing of the virus. As positive mosquito pools have now been reported, Three Rivers is no longer collecting birds for testing. However they will continue to take reports by phone of all dead birds. Birds of greatest interest for reporting are Corvids (American Crow, Black-billed Magpie, & Blue Jay).

Three Rivers has seen a significant increase in West Nile virus cases this season. Terra Uhing, Executive Director of Three Rivers said that “as of September 21, 2018, Three Rivers has 15 West Nile virus cases within its jurisdiction. Of these cases, eight have been in Dodge County, 4 in Washington County, and 3 in Saunders County”. Uhing states that “over half of these cases have been neuroinvasive, the more severe form of the disease and that people need to try to prevent getting mosquito bites, we know that West Nile is here and is very active this year”.

Transmission of West Nile virus occurs through the bite of a mosquito that has acquired the virus by feeding on an infected bird. In turn, the mosquito can pass the virus to humans. You cannot get West Nile virus from a dead bird. The best thing the public can do to protect themselves from West Nile virus is to avoid mosquitoes.

Most people who are infected have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. About one out of 150 people infected with West Nile virus become severely ill. However, people over 50, and those with weakened immune systems, are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.

People can reduce their risk by:

  • Using a repellant that contains DEET. The CDC also has approved picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. The CDC generally recommends that when using sunscreen and repellant, the sunscreen should be applied first. Products that combine sunscreen and repellant are not recommended.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, and socks.
  • Taking extra precautions when going outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Removing standing water where mosquitoes breed.

Free mosquito wipes and mosquito dunks are available to residents of Dodge, Washington, and Saunders County. Mosquito wipes and mosquito dunks can be picked up at Three Rivers Public Health Department located at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave, Fremont, NE 68025. Mosquito wipes have also been distributed to various community locations throughout the Three Rivers jurisdiction.

For more information, call Three Rivers Public Health Department at 402-727-5396 or visit threeriverspublichealth.org.

Additional information can be found on the Department of Health & Human Services Website.