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West Nile Virus

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West Nile Virus

What is West Nile Virus (WNV)?

What are the symptoms of WNV?

Do we need to be worried about WNV in Nebraska?

What precautions can I take to protect myself?

What is Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department (NNPHD) doing to protect the community against WNV?

What should I do if I find a dead bird?

 

What is West Nile Virus (WNV)?Inserted Image

It is a potentially debilitating disease that is carried by birds.  Mosquitoes bite infected birds, which transfers the Virus to the mosquitoes.  Humans are infected when they are bitten by female mosquitoes that are carrying the virus. 

What are the symptoms of WNV?

Symptoms can range from mild fever, headache, body aches, rash and swollen glands to severe high fever, sever headache, stiff neck , muscle weakness and confusion. 

Do we need to be worried about WNV in Nebraska?

Yes!  In 2012 there were 176 people who had contracted the virus.  Of those, 4 people died.

What precautions can I take to protect myself?

  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and at dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outside 
  • Use an insect repellent with DEET (choose the right repellent for your age)
  • Eliminating all sources of standing water (water in tires, buckets, swimming pools) and if this is not possible, utilize a general pesticide appropriate for killing the eggs.
  • Repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

What is Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department (NNPHD) doing to protect the community against WNV?

The NNPHD has been collecting samples of mosquitoes and dead birds and shipping them to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to be tested for WNV since 2006.

What should I do if I find a dead bird?

If you find a bird that has recently died (within the past 24 hours) in the counties of Cedar, Dixon, Thurston or Wayne, please call: Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department (NNPHD) at 1-800-375-2260 or 402-375-2200 to report the bird. Public Health is testing certain types of birds for diseases that can also infect people. 

Please collect the dead bird using the instructions below:

  1. Do not touch the dead bird with bare hands.

  2. If the dead bird is a crow, magpie or bluejay (see the pictures below) please collect the dead bird using the instructions below the pictures,

Inserted Image      Inserted Image         Inserted Image

Crow                                                        Magpie                                                Bluejay

 

Instructions for collecting dead crows, magpies or bluejays:

  • Place the bird in a sealed bag using rubber gloves
  • Place the bag into another water-tight bag
  • Put the bag on ice, away from food
  • NNPHD will send someone to pick up the dead bird from you for testing.

 

​  3. For any other dead bird:

If the dead bird does not look like one of the pictures above, please dispose of the bird using these instructions:

  • ​Call NNPHD to report the dead bird
  • Place the bird in a sealed bag using rubber gloves
  • Throw the bag in the garbage.

 

Zika Virus

What is Zika?

Zika is a virus that is spread most commonly through the bite of an infected mosquito. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting only one week, and some people don't have symptoms at all. However, if a woman gets infected with Zika during pregnancy, Zika can cause serious birth and brain defects.

If a pregnant women gets infected with Zika, it can cause serious birth defects including microcephaly which affects brain development, and Guillain-Barre syndrome which affects the nervous system.

 

What are the symptoms of Zika Virus?

The most common symptoms are: 

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Joint Pain
  • Red Eyes
  • Muscle Pain

Many people infected with Zika will not have symptoms, or will have mild symptoms that last a few days to one week.

How do people get infected with Zika?

Mosquito bites are the most common way of getting infected with Zika. A person can also be infected by having sexual intercourse with a person that has Zika. A mother can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or during the time of birth.

Is there Zika in Nebraska?

There are a few human cases of Zika in Nebraska but these are travel-related cases. This means that the humans were infected with Zika while they were out of the state of Nebraska. Nebraska is considered a low-risk state for Zika. This means that there is a low chance of Zika in Nebraska. The most common mosquito that transmits Zika is found in tropical areas and in the southern United States. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is monitoring certain areas of Nebraska for mosquitoes that could also transmit Zika.

What can I do to protect myself and my family?

The best way to prevent Zika and other diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect you and your family from mosquito bites.

  • Use insect repellent with DEET, or an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellent (click here for information on EPA registered insect repellent).
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito net when sleeping with open windows or outside.
  • Fix broken screens and get rid of standing water that breeds mosquitoes.

Zika can also spread from person to person through sexual intercourse. Use condoms to prevent the spread of Zika during sexual intercourse. 

 

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