A resident within the jurisdiction of Three Rivers Public Health Department has died from complications of the West Nile Virus.
Department officials confirmed that the individual was over 65 years old, had been hospitalized and had underlying health conditions.
Three Rivers Public Health Director Terra Uhing would not confirm which municipality the individual resided in, but did confirm the individual lived within the department’s jurisdiction of Dodge, Saunders and Washington counties.
Uhing also confirmed that this is the first West Nile Virus related death in the Three Rivers jurisdiction in more than a decade, and that five cases of the virus have been reported to the department since the beginning of August.
“Not in the past 10 years, so it’s significant,” she said. “We don’t want people to panic, but we do want them to know that it is serious and to remind them to try and take preventative measures.”
Uhing says that of the five recently reported cases of West Nile Virus in the Three Rivers jurisdiction, two were reported in Washington County, two in Saunders County and one in Dodge County.
This is an increase from one reported case in 2017 and four cases in 2016.
“The West Nile Virus can cause serious illness. I urge individuals to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites,” Uhing said.
According to information released by Three Rivers, most people who are infected have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms and only about one out of 150 people infected with West Nile Virus become severely ill.
However, people over 50, and those with weakened immune systems, are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.
Transmission of West Nile Virus occurs through the bite of a mosquito that has acquired the virus by feeding on an infected bird. In turn, the mosquito can pass the virus to humans. You cannot get West Nile Virus from a dead bird. The best thing the public can do to protect themselves from West Nile Virus is to avoid mosquitoes.
People can reduce their risk by:
Using a repellent that contains DEET. The CDC also has approved picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus. The CDC generally recommends that when using sunscreen and repellent, the sunscreen should be applied first. Products that combine sunscreen and repellent are not recommended.Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks.Taking extra precautions when going outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.Removing standing water where mosquitoes breed.
Free mosquito wipes and mosquito dunks are available to residents of Dodge, Washington and Saunders County. Mosquito wipes and mosquito dunks can be picked up at Three Rivers Public Health Department at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave., Fremont, NE 68025. Mosquito wipes have also been distributed to various community locations throughout the Three Rivers jurisdiction.
For more information, call Three Rivers Public Health Department at 402-727-5396 or visit www.threeriverspublichealth.org. Additional information can be found on the Department of Health & Human Services Website at: http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/wnv.aspx