GRAND ISLAND — The Central District Health Department reported Monday that 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.
In a statement, Environmental Health Specialist Nathan Kush said “Even though viral activity is low, the presence of West Nile Virus in the area does warrant some attention with mosquitoes. Especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.”
It is estimated that approximately one 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 older than age 50 and some immuno-compromised persons (i.e., transplant patients) are at the highest risk when infected with WNV. Most people (about 4 out of 5) 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 if you are infected.
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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.
For more information contact the Central District Health Department at (308) 385-5175.