Mosquito pools in Fremont test positive for West Nile Virus
While only one case has been reported in all of Nebraska so far this year, health officials note recent spike in virus-positive pools
FREMONT, Neb. (WOWT) - Health officials say they’ve identified West Nile Virus in two mosquito pools.
The Three Rivers Public Health Department recently confirmed the virus had been detected in both Dodge County testing locations. 3RPHD serves Dodge, Saunders, and Washington counties.
Nebraska health officials have detected West Nile Virus in 60 mosquito pools this season — 42 in the past week. As of July 1, there were only seven in the 306 tested across the state at that point.
“This total number, at this point in the summer, is more than 20 times higher than the total WNV mosquito pool number across the past five years,” the 3RPHD news release states.
To date, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has recorded one case of West Nile Virus this year. 3RPHD reported the first case of the season in early June: a man aged 51-64. DHHS said at the time that he was not hospitalized.
“Many people who are infected have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms,” Friday’s release from the health district states. “Less than 1% of 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.”
DHHS recorded 64 clinical cases of West Nile Virus last year.
“It is important to note that for every neuroinvasive case of West Nile Virus, there is an estimated 30-70 non-neuroinvasive cases so the number of total cases in the state is likely much higher,” DHHS states on their online data page.
Noting that there is no vaccine to prevent West Nile Virus, Three Rivers health officials advise using a mosquito repellent that contains DEET, and wearing long sleeves, pants, shoes, and socks when spending time outside.
Residents can also prevent mosquito pools from forming by removing standing water or using “mosquito dunks” if places where standing water can’t be removed.
3RPHD provides mosquito repellant wipes and mosquito dunks free to residents in its district. They can be picked up at the health department office, located at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave. in Fremont.
Changing water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and plant pots or trays at least once a week is also recommended; as is making sure that any screens on windows and doors are “bug tight” and don’t have any rips or holes.
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