Eleven people in Nebraska have been infected with the West Nile virus so far this year, state officials said Wednesday.
Three of those people were hospitalized.
Four cases have been recorded so far in Iowa, and no one has been hospitalized, a state spokeswoman said.
Last year, 193 human cases of West Nile were reported in Nebraska. Four people died. Iowa had 31 cases and no deaths.
“We're in the heart of West Nile virus season, and you'll want to take steps to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Joseph Acierno, the state's chief medical officer.
West Nile virus is transmitted to people through the bite of a mosquito that picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird, state officials said. Most people who are infected will have no symptoms or only mild flulike symptoms. Some people will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headaches, body aches, vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Fewer than 1 percent of people will develop a serious illness such as encephalitis or meningitis.
To avoid mosquitoes, officials recommend that you:
• Use mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.
• Dress in long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when you're outside.
• Limit outdoor activities. Dusk and dawn are times when mosquitoes are most active.
• Drain any areas of standing water around your home.
Read more about the West Nile virus at www.dhhs.ne.gov/wnv.