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West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is a disease that is spread by infected mosquitoes. The best defense against the virus is protecting yourself with repellant and not giving mosquitoes a place to lay eggs or develop.

  1. Use DEET up to 30%
  2. Wear long sleeves and pants
  3. Drain standing water

Here are some things you can do around your home:

  • Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have collected on your property. Pay special attention to discarded tires. Stagnant water in tires is where most mosquitoes breed. 
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
  • Have clogged roof gutters cleaned regularly (spring  & fall), particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season. 
  • Turn over plastic wading pools and wheel barrows when not in use. Don't let water stagnate in birdbaths. These provide breeding habitats for domestic mosquitoes. 
  • Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes may breed in any puddle that lasts for more than four days. 

WNV Season runs May-October

Reporting of dead birds is a good way to check for West Nile virus activity in the environment to allow implementation of prevention and control measures to minimize the spread of the virus. Surveillance season, to include mosquito trapping and dead bird testing runs May-October. West Nile is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. The infected birds, especially crows, are known to get sick and die from the infection. In turn, the mosquito can pass the virus to humans. Only one type of mosquito, the common Culex variety, carries the virus. Citizens may call WCDHD at 308-696-1201 ext. 261 if they see a dead bird. Testing will only be conducted to birds that have died within 24 hours, with no evidence of maggots or rotting. Birds may be frozen in anticipation of the delivery to WCDHD. Individuals should avoid bare-handed contact with any dead animals, and use gloves or an inverted plastic bag to place the bird carcass in a garbage bag and call WCDHD.