Fight the Bite

Each summer, Four Corners participates in the West Nile Virus Surveillance Program.  Three locations in the region are identified as ideal locations to collect mosquitos.  This is done every two weeks from June until the first frost in the fall. These traps are hung overnight and picked up in the morning.  The mosquitos that are collected are shipped to the state’s entomology lab. There each mosquito is identified by species.  These mosquitos are then tested for diseases including West Nile Virus.

West Nile Virus is the leading disease carried by mosquitos in the continental United States. Most people who are infected by a mosquito have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Less than one out of 150 people who get bitten by an infected mosquito and become infected will get seriously ill. However, people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk. These people are more likely to experience serious illness.

West Nile fever includes flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, swollen lymph glands, and muscle weakness. More seriously, it can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, occasional convulsions, and even paralysis.

“People should take care to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, no matter what part of the state they live in,” Laura McDougall, Executive Director says. The best way to prevent West Nile Virus is to take steps to protect ourselves from mosquito bites. People can “fight the bite” to reduce their risk of getting West Nile Virus by:

  • Using insect repellant that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes, and socks when outdoors.
  • Taking extra precautions when outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Removing standing water which can be mosquito breeding sites. Change water in bird baths regularly.
  • Adding larvicides (in the form of pellets, dunks, or donuts to kill mosquito larvae) to animal drinking troughs, ornamental fountains, ditches, and ponds. This can be purchased at most hardware, farm, or gardening centers.
  • Checking to make sure window and door screens are in good and without holes.

Come see us at county fairs in the district to get Repellent Wipes and Mosquito Dunks!

More information about West Nile Virus and risk reduction can be found at https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Mosquito-Borne-Disease-Prevention.aspx.

For vector-borne disease data and statistics, please visit https://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/West-Nile-Virus-Data.aspx.

For questions or to learn more, call Four Corners at 402-362-2621 or 877-337-3573. You can also email us at info@fourcorners.ne.gov. Visit the Four Corners website at https://fourcorners.ne.gov. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel @fc_healthdept!

# # #