Douglas County Health reports first confirmed West Nile death

The DCHD reported on Wednesday the first confirmed death in Douglas County due to the West Nile...
The DCHD reported on Wednesday the first confirmed death in Douglas County due to the West Nile virus.(KKCO)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 1:51 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) released a statement Wednesday afternoon following the county’s first death from the West Nile virus.

The individual, a man in his 80s, was hospitalized after developing symptoms in August. He had several underlying medical conditions and passed away earlier this month.

Nine total cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in Douglas County this year, with eight of them coming in September. All but one of the individuals were hospitalized.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes that have fed on birds infected with the disease. The DCHD tracks the mosquito population by trapping the insects at potential breeding sites in the county.

“Avoiding mosquito bites is how you protect yourself from getting sick, it is important for you to reduce the threat,” said Dr. Huse.

The DCHD provides a few tips to help prevent 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 get infected with West Nile have no symptoms. According to the DCHD, roughly one in five will develop a fever, headache, and rash but are likely to fully recover. It is estimated that one person in 150 who is infected will develop a severe illness such as encephalitis or meningitis.

The Douglas County Health Department had a record 71 confirmed cases in 2018, 11 cases in 2019, and only two cases last year.

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