Health Care

Happy summer, the West Nile Virus is here now

Happy summer, the West Nile Virus is here now”

Biologist Jim Lunders with Jackson County Vector Control says the earliest we'd usually see West Nile Virus is mid-to-late July. No cases were reported in Grant County past year, although West Nile showed up in 14 mosquito samples there.

Some mosquitoes in Canada can spread the West Nile virus to humans from infected corvid birds (crows, ravens, magpies, and jays).

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department is encouraging people to take preventative measures against the virus. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

Department of Public Health issued the following announcement on June 23.

There were 2,002 reported cases of West Nile Virus and 121 deaths across the 2017, according to the CDC.

Many people infected with the virus experience no symptoms, and others may have fevers or flu-like symptoms. In rare severe case, the symptoms are meningitis, encephalitis or death, according to IDPH.

Residents in affected areas are encouraged to eliminate standing water that can host mosquito larvae, to wear long trousers and shirts, to use insect repellent, and to limit outdoor activities during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Try to keep doors and windows shut.

Wear long-sleeved shirts, socks, and long trousers to prevent mosquito bites. Fix or replace screens that have tears or other openings. DHHS and LLCHD encourage citizens to report dead birds to the agencies, so the birds can be tested.

Draining any sources of standing water around your house is one way to limit the mosquito population in your yard.

The recent floods and higher water in many areas across the South Okanagan have resulted in an increase in standing water and more mosquitoes hatching.

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