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First Case Of West Nile Virus On Human Found In Lancaster County

First Posted: Jul 25, 2016 06:25 AM EDT

West Nile virus (WNV) can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Unfortunately, there are still no medications or vaccines to combat this virus. This virus was commonly found in Europe and Africa, however, it was recently confirmed by health officials that a human case of the mosquito-borne virus has already reached Lancaster County, Nebraska.

According to The Washington Times, officials said that the infected man most likely contracted the virus someplace else. Earlier this month, health officials also confirmed a human case of West Nile virus in Scotts Bluff County in western Nebraska.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there are still no medications of vaccines available that can combat the virus. However, individuals can protect themselves by using insect repellant and wearing clothes that can protect them from being bitten by mosquitoes.

Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms, and about 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever along with other symptoms. But, less than 1% of those infected with the virus will develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.

A report in Kentucky.com said that experts warned that the people who are most vulnerable to this disease are those who are at least 50 years old, or those that have a weakened immune system. The virus is transferred to humans by mosquitoes, which acquired the virus by feeding on infected birds.

"Given the extremely hot weather over the last two months, we are concerned that West Nile Virus activity may significantly increase," said John Chess, Water Quality Program Supervisor for Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD). "As the summer progresses, mosquitoes are more likely to have WNV, which makes protecting yourself from mosquitoes very important."

LCHD also urge the public to limit mosquito breeding areas by dumping small wading pools daily, and maintain swimming pools properly. Those with garden ponds and fountains should maintain those by keeping the water flowing. 1011now.com also suggested to clear debris, weeds and litter from drainage ways. Water in bird baths should also be changed every week and for pet bowls, water should be changed daily. Keep tires, buckets and containers where it would be impossible to collect water, and low spots in the yard should be filled.

There have already been 68 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus and two deaths in Nebraska last year. In 2014, eight deaths were blamed on West Nile virus.

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