FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2014
CONTACT: Mary Drudik, Public Health Nurse / Surveillance Coordinator
Amanda Jeffres, Public Health Nurse
Loup Basin Public Health Department
(308) 346-5795 or (866) 522-5795
FIRST HUMAN CASE OF WEST NILE ENCEPHALITIS REPORTED IN NEBRASKA
The first human case of West Nile encephalitis in Nebraska for 2014 has been detected in a resident of Greeley County in central Nebraska. Four other milder cases of West Nile in humans have been reported throughout the state this year.
West Nile is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. This year mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile virus in following Nebraska Counties: Cherry, Dawes, Dawson, Lincoln, Phelps, Red Willow, Scotts Bluff and Wayne.
When a person is infected with West Nile virus they may experience a fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. These symptoms usually last a few days. A few people will develop the more severe West Nile Encephalitis/Meningitis form which often includes high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These problems may last several weeks and you should seek medical attention.
It is important to reduce your chance of being bitten by mosquitoes. Take extra precautions especially during mornings and evenings because this is when mosquitoes are more active. Wear lightweight, long sleeved shirts and pants. Be sure to wear insect repellent containing DEET, IR3535, Oil of Eucalyptus or Picaridin.
Some recommendations for using DEET are:
• Do not use a product that combines insect repellent and sun screen.
• Read all instructions on the label before applying.
• Use the right concentration for the time you will be outdoors.
• Do not spray in enclosed areas; do not use DEET near food.
• Apply DEET on exposed skin; do not use under clothing.
• Do not use DEET over cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
• Wash skin with soap and water after returning indoors; wash treated clothing.
• Do not let children apply DEET.
• Do not use DEET on the hands of young children; do not apply around the eyes and mouth.
• Do not apply directly on children. Apply to your own hands, and then put it on the child.
• If a person is having a reaction to a product containing DEET, wash the area immediately
and contact your health care provider or a local poison control center. 800-222-1222
For more information, contact Loup Basin Public Health Department at 308-346-5795 or 866-522-5795. Loup Basin Public Health Department serves Blaine, Custer, Garfield, Greeley, Howard, Loup, Sherman, Valley and Wheeler Counties.