Three Rivers Public Health Department is providing surveillance for West Nile virus again this year through mosquito trapping and the reporting and collection of dead birds for testing.
The health department only collects birds that are Corvids (American Crow, Black-billed Magpie, Blue Jay). Birds must be in good condition and with no evidence of rotting or odor. The public can ensure the quality of birds for testing by collecting them in a plastic zip-top bag and preserving them in the freezer. This is especially helpful after business hours or during the weekend. To submit a report or request a pick-up of a dead bird, residents should contact Three Rivers at 402-727-5396.
Three Rivers Public Health Department will also be trapping mosquitoes throughout Dodge County during the summer months to test for West Nile virus.
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 repellant that contains DEET
• 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
Most people who are infected have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. 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.
For more information, call Three Rivers Public Health Department at 402-727-5396 or visit www.threeriverspublichealth.org.