West Nile Virus | Wellness & PreventionHumans contract West Nile virus (WNV) through the bite of mosquitoes. Symptoms may vary from mild (abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, headache, etc.) to severe (confusion, coma, muscle weakness, etc.). While there are approximately 50 different species of mosquitoes in Nebraska, most mosquitoes do not transmit WNV.
SWNPHD works with the State of Nebraska to track the presence of WNV through mosquito trapping and dead bird collection during the summer months. Mosquitoes and dead birds are sent to the state laboratory for testing. This information helps combat the spread of WNV.
Public awareness and education is brought through newspaper and radio medium, as well as, Health Educators presenting to organizational groups and health fairs.
Although the chances of a person becoming ill are small, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce them even further:
- Ensure all doors and windows fit properly, and are equipped with tight fitting, fine mesh screen.
- White light colored, loose fitting, long sleeved shirt and pants.
- Minimize outdoor activity during sunrise and sunset when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes can be found in tall grass, bushes, and moist vegetation during the day.
- Equip baby carriages and strollers with fine mesh netting to protect infants.
- Use insect repellent on ankles, wrists, neck and ears; avoid areas around eyes, nose and mouth. DO NOT use on cuts, scrapes or on infants or pets.
- Wash all skin treated with repellent once you have returned indoors.
- Get rid of old tires, cans, bottles, jars, buckets, drums, or other containers, or keep them drained. Standing water in clogged gutters can also raise mosquitoes.
- Empty your small toddler-size plastic wading pool weekly and store it indoors when not in use. Make sure your backyard swimming pool is properly cared for while on vacation.
- Repair leaky pipes, outside faucets, and move air conditioner drain hoses frequently. Eliminate puddles created by lawn watering procedures.
- Change water and scrub vases holding flowers or cuttings twice each week - or grow cuttings in sand; scrub and change water in bird baths twice weekly; empty watering cans and pet dishes daily.
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