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Young man hospitalized with West Nile Virus in Douglas County

West Nile virus symptoms are similar to COVID-19 at first, experts say
Posted at 3:12 PM, Sep 16, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Douglas County Health Department said in a news release that a case of West Nile Virus — which is a dangerous, mosquito-born illness — was discovered in the county.

Read the entire news release here:

The year’s first confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in Douglas County has been confirmed by the Health Department (DCHD).

The patent is a male under 20 years of age who is hospitalized and recovering. DCHD also has confirmed the county’s first pools of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus. The pools are located north of downtown Omaha and near 120th and West Maple Road.

“The mosquito population in Douglas County has been low this year, but West Nile virus remains a concern,” Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said. “This new development confirms it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites.”

People catch West Nile Virus through the bites of mosquitoes that have fed on birds that are infected with the disease. The Health Department tracks the mosquito population by trapping the insects at potential breeding sites in the county.

“Avoiding mosquito bites is how you keep from getting sick,” Dr. Huse emphasized. “It is important to try to do that.”

Here is how to reduce your chance of getting mosquito bites:
• Use a mosquito repellant with 30 percent DEET or another CDC-approved repellant.
• Wear light-colored, loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants, shoes, and socks when outdoors.
• Avoid outdoor activity around dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active.
• Remove standing water near your home or ask the Health Department to treat it.

Most people who are infected with the West Nile virus have no symptoms. Roughly one in five will develop a fever, headache, and a rash but are likely to fully recover. About one person in 150 who is infected will develop a severe illness such as encephalitis or meningitis.

Douglas County had a record 71 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in 2018. Last year the county experienced 19 confirmed cases but had only two cases in 2020.

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