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Archive for Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cases of West Nile grow in Nebraska

October 15, 2006

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— Twenty-five new cases of West Nile virus have been reported since last week, bringing the total this year to 197, according to Nebraska Health and Human Services.

"It hasn't yet been cold enough in most parts of the state to kill mosquitoes," said Dr. Annette Bredthauer, state public health veterinarian. "Until we've had a really good freeze, take precautions to keep from being bitten."

The 197 cases are from 42 counties, with people ages 6 to 88 afflicted.

Of the 197, 72 have been hospitalized. There has been one death this season in the state - an elderly man from south-central Nebraska.

In 2005, 188 human cases were reported in Nebraska, with five deaths. In 2004, 54 cases were reported and no deaths. In 2003, the state had 2,366 cases and 29 deaths.

Health experts say people can avoid mosquito bites by using repellent and by staying away from heavily mosquito-infested areas. To lower mosquito infestation, people should get rid of standing water in bird baths, pools and other areas that collect water.

West Nile fever includes flulike symptoms such as fever and muscle weakness.

Symptoms of West Nile encephalitis include inflammation of the brain, disorientation, convulsions and paralysis. But most people who are bitten by infected mosquitoes never have symptoms, health officials say.

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