As we welcome fall to the region, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is ending the 2009 West Nile Virus bird surveillance program.
It’s been a quiet year, so far, for West Nile Virus in Nebraska. Only 21 confirmed cases have been reported so far this year, compared to 47 last year and 163 the year before. In 2003, we saw the highest number of infections in the state with 1,994 confirmed cases and 27 deaths.
Now, Nebraska officials say they are done collecting birds this year as the West Nile Virus season winds down. However, officials are reminding people that West Nile is still a concern until at least the first hard freeze, which usually occurs in mid-October in Nebraska.
People are encouraged to continue applying mosquito repellant when spending time outside. People are also encouraged to continue wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts especially during dusk and dawn.
West Nile Virus symptoms include moderate to high fever, influenza-like illness with abrupt onset, headache, sore throat, backache, fatigue, vomiting and in some cases meningitis or encephalitis. The disease is spread through the bite of mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds.
Thanks to Josh Mackey, KOGA, Ogallala