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Douglas County records first case of West Nile virus this year

Douglas County records first case of West Nile virus this year

A Douglas County woman has been hospitalized after contracting the West Nile virus.

The woman, who is in her 20s, had West Nile meningitis, the more severe form of the disease, according to the Douglas County Health Department. She has since been released from the hospital.

The woman was the county’s first human case of West Nile virus this year. The first positive mosquito sample in Douglas County was confirmed in early September.

Cases of the virus tend to increase in late summer and early fall. In mid-September, state health officials confirmed that a man who lives in the Three Rivers Public Health Department’s jurisdiction was the state’s first human case of the virus. The man, who is between 26 and 50 years old, was not hospitalized. The Health Department covers Dodge, Saunders and Washington Counties.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department also reported one human case of the virus.

Last year, Douglas County recorded seven cases of the disease. The year before, there were a record 71 cases.

Most people infected by a mosquito will have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Fewer than 1 in 150 people bitten by an infected mosquito will have a serious illness.However, people age 50 and older and those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.

Residents should take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites until the first hard frost brings an end to mosquito season.

To reduce the risk of mosquito bites, apply a repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus; minimize outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active; wear loose, long-sleeved shirts as well as pants, shoes and socks when outdoors.

To prevent mosquito breeding, remove standing water; empty buckets and pet dishes daily and bird baths weekly, clear weeds and anything else that might keep water from draining; follow proper swimming pool maintenance procedures; and keep water moving in ponds and fountains.

Omaha World-Herald: Live Well

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