Omaha Public Radio News
3:13 pm
Wed June 3, 2009

West Nile Virus surveillance begins

Omaha, NE – West Nile Virus surveillance is underway in Douglas County and throughout Nebraska.

The Department of Health and Human Services began surveillance June first. Douglas County's mosquito trapping began Wednesday. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne illness. Many people who contract the virus don't have any symptoms but some can become seriously ill or die.

Reid Steinkraus is Director of Sanitation Control for the Douglas County Health Department. He says it's too soon to tell if this year's West Nile season will be severe. West Nile usually peaks in Douglas County in August and September.

Steinkraus says you can protect yourself from the West Nile Virus by staying inside during peak mosquito activity at dusk and dawn. Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, emptying standing water on your property and wearing a repellent with DEET will also reduce your chances of getting West Nile.

Last year Douglas County reported 45 cases of West Nile Virus.