The South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD) reports that some mosquitoes trapped in the greater Hastings area of Adams County on July 7th have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

Health director Michele Bever reminds people that infected mosquitoes can pass the West Nile virus to humans. Last year there were 68 human cases of West Nile illness in Nebraska. As of July 19, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services had reported one laboratory-confirmed case of West Nile infection in Nebraskans.

“While Zika virus is certainly a concern in many parts of the world, mosquitoes that carry West Nile are right here in south central Nebraska,” said Jessica Warner, disease surveillance coordinator at South Heartland. “With this in mind, and positive mosquitoes in Adams County, we continue to encourage South Heartland residents to take precautions that will reduce their chances of mosquito bites.”

According to health director Michele Bever, “West Nile Virus is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn. “The best way to fight back,” she said, “is to use an insect repellant containing DEET any time you will be outside.”

Jeff Hassenstab, City of Hastings parks and recreation director, also encourages residents to ‘Fight the Bite.’ “Now is the time to take a look around our properties and focus on eliminating standing water where mosquitoes can breed,” he said. “The City of Hastings will be treating mosquitoes when conditions are present to do so.”

West Nile symptoms can vary from person to person, but can include fever and other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, nausea, vomiting, and or a rash. These symptoms typically last a few days. Approximately one in one hundred and fifty (150) people will develop severe illness. These symptoms can include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, paralysis, and coma. These symptoms may last several weeks; the neurological effects can be permanent and can result in death.


South Heartland District Health Department recommends that people remember and practice the four D’s of West Nile Virus illness prevention:

· Dusk to dawn – Avoid being outside when mosquitoes are most active

· DEET – Use effective insect repellents, such as those containing DEET

· Dress to protect – in long pants, socks and long sleeves to prevent mosquito bites

· Drain – frequently drain containers and other standing or stagnant water around your home to disrupt the breeding cycle of mosquitoes.

West Nile Virus is a preventable illness. “You and your family can reduce your risk of this illness if you consistently use these simple precautions,” said Warner.

Dr. Bever encourages anyone who would like further information, brochures or to schedule a presentation on West Nile Virus to contact South Heartland District Health Department 402-462-6211 or Toll Free at 1-877-238-7595.

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