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Douglas County Health Dept. reports first West Nile Virus case this year

Posted at 9:20 AM, Sep 29, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The first case of West Nile Virus in Douglas County this year has been confirmed by the health department.

The case involves a woman in her 20s who didn't travel and was hospitalized with West Nile meningitis, the more severe form of the disease, according to the Douglas County Health Department. She has not yet been released.

Typically, late summer and early fall are when West Nile Virus cases start to grow.

Last year, Douglas County saw only seven cases of the disease after 71 cases in 2018.

Most who are infected with West Nile Virus have no symptoms or mild symptoms like a fever, headache or a rash.

The health department says less than 150 people will have a serious illness.

Those 50-years-old and older and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to West Nile Virus.

The threat of West Nile Virus ends with the first hard frost.

The health department reminds people to follow these tips to avoid what can be a deadly disease:

• Apply a mosquito repellant containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Be sure to follow label instructions.

• Minimize your activities outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

• Wear loose, long-sleeved shirts, plus pants, shoes and socks when you are outdoors.

To prevent mosquitoes from increasing where you live:

• Remove all standing water near your home.

• Empty buckets and pet dishes daily and bird baths on a weekly basis.

• Clear weeds and anything else that may obstruct water from draining properly.

• Follow proper swimming pool maintenance procedures and keep water moving in ponds or fountains.