While the wet June we had made conditions right for millions of mosquitoes to breed, epidemiologist Patty Quinlisk says there is not an increased risk for catching West Nile virus.
“Mosquitoes that carry West Nile and some of the other diseases actually don’t like this much water. They like the little, tiny puddles of warm stagnant water,” according to Quinlisk.
She says the biting bugs that have thrived in the wet conditions are “nuisance mosquitoes,” and the other type that carry the virus are more common in the drier fall months.
Quinlisk says regardless of the type of mosquitoes in your yard, use insect repellent as protection against them. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, and get rid of standing water where the mosquitoes may breed.
“Most people who get West Nile will be exposed in say August or September,” Quinlisk says. “Typically we do see our first case around this time of year, so we know that the virus is out there and some mosquitoes are carrying it.”
West Nile first showed up in Nebraska in 2002. There were 174 cases and seven deaths statewide from it that year. Last year, there were 226 cases and five deaths in the state. So far this year, no cases have been reported in Nebraska.