West Nile Virus Update

Mosquito Pool in Gage County Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

Nebraska DHHS has reported that a mosquito pool collected in Gage County has tested positive for West Nile Virus. This is the first report of a positive mosquito pool in the PHS district this season.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV. Fortunately, most people infected with the virus do not have symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. To date, PHS has confirmed two cases of neuro-invasive WNN in the district and one blood donor has screened positive for the virus.

Late summer is typically when we see increased cases of WNV in our area. Taking steps to prevent mosquito bites remains the best defense against West Nile Virus.

* Use insect repellent containing Deet when you are outdoors

* Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants & socks when outdoors

* Avoid going out at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active

* Eliminate standing water around your homes and in the community

If you have questions regarding West Nile virus or mosquito prevention, please contact Public Health Solutions at 402-826-3880 or email Kate Lange.

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PHS Mosquito Counts

Every year, Public Health Solutions maintains surveillance of mosquito activity in our five-county area. This includes testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus (WNV) and any associated infections reported at our local hospitals. The most recent report includes the following.

  • To date (8/22/2018), there has been 47 positive arbovirus positive mosquito pools detected in 15 different counties. All 47 positive pools have been WNV, no Saint Louis Encephalitis (SLE) or Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) has been detected to date in mosquito pools.
    • No positive mosquitoes in PHS district
    • 36 WNV cases in humans statewide
    • Age range 11 – 71+ years
    • WNV Neuroinvasive Disease 20
    • WNV Non-Neuroinvasive Disease 16
    • Hospitalized 16
    • Death 2

08/06/2018
Gage County Culex mosquito Count: 88
Gage County Total Mosquito Count: 211
42% Culex
Gage County has 2 traps

08/13/2018
Jefferson County Culex mosquito Count: 445
Jefferson County Total Count: 583
76% Culex
Jefferson County has 4 traps

8/29/2018

Gage County mosquito counts

  • 73 total captured
  • 42 (58%) were Culex mosquitoes (the mosquito that carries WNV)

 

Click here to learn more about West Nile Virus and how to protect yourself and your family.

Updated 8/29/2018

Health Alerts Continue at Bluestem Lake

High E. coli levels found at Branched Oak, Maple Creek Recreation Area Lake, Windmill Lake No. 5

Health alerts for harmful algal bloom continue at Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County. The following lakes were found to have high E. coli levels: Branched Oak in Lancaster County, Maple Creek Recreation Area in Colfax County, Windmill Lake No. 5 in Buffalo County.

The public is advised that swimming and activities which could cause accidental ingestion of water are not permitted when a health alert for toxic blue-green algae is posted.  The designated swimming beaches are closed. While recreational boating and fishing are permitted, the public should avoid activities that could cause accidental ingestion of water as well as full immersion in water.  The risks to humans come from external exposure (prolonged contact with skin) and from swallowing the water.  Symptoms from external exposure are skin rashes, lesions, and blisters.  Symptoms from ingestion can include headaches, nausea, muscular pains, central abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

High E. coli levels in a lake may be indicative of sewage contamination. However, affected lakes are not posted for no swimming because it has not been declared unsafe.  Rather, this notice is issued so the public is aware that the higher E. coli levels may increase the risk of illness when swimming in the affected water.

If you experience health symptoms, notify your physician. You can also contact the Nebraska Regional Poison Center at 800-222-1222 for more information. Testing results for all lakes can be found on the NDEQ website.

Algae and Bacteria Health Alert

Bacteria and Harmful Algal Bloom Results for the Week of August 21, 2017

 

Harmful Algal Blooms

Bluestem was below 20 ppb but will remain on Health Alert for at least one more week.

Swan Creek Lake (5A) and Willow Creek Reservoir have been removed from the Health Alert list.

A lake that exceeds 20 ppb of microcystin is placed on “Health Alert”. That lake will remain under  “Health Alert” Status until such time that it has tested below 20 ppb for two continuous weeks. If a lake is under a Health Alert, signs will be posted recommending people avoid full body contact activities such as swimming, wading, skiing, jet skiing, etc.

Non-contact activities such as boating, fishing, and camping are OK.

Bacteria

 Lakes that tested high for E. coli bacteria this week are listed below. E. coli  bacteria levels measured above 235 colonies/100 ml of sample are considered a higher risk for illness when swimming.  Considering the more rapid changes in bacteria conditions, signs are not posted with these higher levels although we want people to be aware and use their own judgment on their use.

Lake Name County Last Updated E.coli Bacteria
Branched Oak Lake
Lancaster 8/24/17 308
  Fremont Lake No. 10 (SRA) Dodge 8/24/17 1203
  Maple Creek Recreation Area Lake Colfax 8/24/17 388
  Pawnee Lake East Beach Lancaster 8/24/17 579
  Pawnee Lake West Beach Lancaster 8/24/17 268
  Wirth Brothers Lake (Site 27) Johnson 8/24/17 1203

Lake Health Alerts

Health Alert Ends at Pawnee; Alerts Continue at Bluestem, Willow Creek Reservoir and Swan Creek Lake 5A

High E. coli levels found at Fremont Lake #10, Maple Creek Recreation Area, Pawnee Lake, and Wirth Brothers Lake

There were no new health alerts this week for harmful algal blooms, and a health alert has ended at Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County.  Alerts continue at Bluestem Lake in Lancaster County, Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County and Swan Creek Lake 5A in Saline County. The following lakes were found to have high E. coli levels: Fremont Lake # 10 in Dodge County, Maple Creek Recreation Area in Colfax County, Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County, and Wirth Brothers Lake in Johnson County.

The public is advised that swimming and activities which could cause accidental ingestion of water are not permitted when a health alert for toxic blue-green algae is posted.  The designated swimming beaches are closed. While recreational boating and fishing are permitted, the public should avoid activities that could cause accidental ingestion of water as well as full immersion in water.  The risks to humans come from external exposure (prolonged contact with skin) and from swallowing the water.  Symptoms from external exposure are skin rashes, lesions, and blisters.  Symptoms from ingestion can include headaches, nausea, muscular pains, central abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

High E. coli levels in a lake may be indicative of sewage contamination. However, affected lakes are not posted for no swimming because it has not been declared unsafe.  Rather, this notice is issued so the public is aware that the higher E. coli levels may increase the risk of illness when swimming in the affected water.

If you experience health symptoms, notify your physician. You can also contact the Nebraska Regional Poison Center at 800-222-1222 for more information. Testing results for all lakes can be found on the NDEQ website.

Rabies Risk!

It’s bat season again. Higher levels of bat activity increases the possibility of rabies exposure.
“August is the peak month for testing bats for rabies,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “It’s important for people to be careful around bats and other wild animals like skunks, foxes, coyotes and raccoons or domestic stray animals like cats and dogs which are less likely to be vaccinated. These animals could potentially have rabies and transmit it to people.”

Bats eat insects so they are a valuable to us, however they are also a natural reservoir for rabies. Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system and is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal or if saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into an open wound or a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth. Rabies is generally fatal without preventive treatment.

Help prevent the spread of rabies by following these recommendations:

  • Be a responsible animal owner. Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats, ferrets, and other animals you own.
  • Seek immediate veterinary assistance for your pet if it’s bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat.
  • Do not touch, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick, wild animals to health. Call an animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to reduce the risk of contact with rabid animals.
  • Maintain homes and other buildings so bats and other animals can’t get inside.
  • If you wake up and find a bat in your room, you should try to safely capture the bat and have it tested. The same precautions should be used if you see a bat in a room with an unattended child. Do not attempt to capture the bat unless you can do so without putting yourself at risk for physical contact or being bitten. This can be done by covering the bat with a large can or bucket, and close the door to the room.

Call Public Health Solutions at 402 826 3880, if you have  questions or concerns relative to wild animal exposure

Nitrate Violation Alert!

NOTICE OF NITRATE VIOLATION FOR STEELE CITY WATER

A Nitrate Violation Notice has been issued for users of the Village of Steele City, Nebraska Public Water Supply System. Nitrate was measured at 14 milligrams per liter on a sample collected on August 10, 2017. Parents are advised that Infants who are six months or younger, nursing mothers, and pregnant women should not consume Steele City water until further notice. In accord with State protocol, the Village of Steele City will offer an alternate source of water for infants who are six months or younger, nursing mothers, and pregnant women until the nitrates on the public water system are reduced below 10 mg/1.

Children who drink water with high nitrates can become seriously ill and die if their sickness goes untreated. Shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome are symptoms of drinking water with high nitrate levels.  Pregnant woman who drink the high nitrate tap water are told to consult with a doctor.

Water, juice and formula for children under six months should not be prepared with Steele City Tap water while this notice is in effect. Do not boil, freeze or let water stand in an effort to reduce nitrates. These actions will further concentrate nitrate levels.

Non-pregnant adults and children older than 6 months may drink Steele City tap water. Nitrate in drinking water can come from natural, industrial, and/or agricultural sources so the levels can vary throughout the year.

Contact the Village of Steele City for information regarding the status of the water system and the availability of alternate water sources.

Blue Green Algae & High E. Coli Alert

Blue Green Algae Health Alerts Issued for Bluestem lake, Pawnee Lake, Swan Creek Lake(5A),  and Willow Creek Reservoir

  High E. Coli found in Maple Creek Recreation Area Lake

The state has issued health alerts for toxic blue-green algae at Bluestem Lake & Pawnee Lake, both in Lancaster County, Swan Creek Lake(5A) in Saline County, and Willow Creek Reservoir in Pierce County. Maple Creek Recreation Area Lake in Colfax County was found to have above normal E. coli levels.

The public is advised that swimming and activities which could cause accidental ingestion of water are not permitted when a health alert for toxic blue-green algae is posted.  The designated swimming beaches are closed. While recreational boating and fishing are permitted, the public should avoid activities that could cause accidental ingestion of water as well as full immersion in water.  The risks to humans come from external exposure (prolonged contact with skin) and from swallowing the water.  Symptoms from external exposure are skin rashes, lesions, and blisters.  Symptoms from ingestion can include headaches, nausea, muscular pains, central abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

High E. coli levels in a lake may be indicative of sewage contamination. However, affected lakes are  not posted for no swimming because it has not been declared unsafe.  Rather, this notice is issued so the public is aware that the higher E. coli levels may increase the risk of illness when swimming in the affected water.

If you experience health symptoms, notify your physician. You can also contact the Nebraska Regional Poison Center at 800-222-1222 for more information. Testing results for all lakes can be found on the NDEQ website at http://deq.ne.gov

Blue Green Algae & High E. Coli Alerts

Blue Green Algae Health Alerts Issued for Swan Creek Lake, Pawnee Lake

High E. Coli Found in Holmes Lake, Pawnee Lake, Fremont Lake No. 10, Maple Creek Recreation Area Lake

The state has issued health alerts for toxic blue-green algae at Swan Creek Lake in Saline County and Pawnee Lake in Lancaster County. Holmes Lake and Pawnee Lake (both in Lancaster County), Fremont Lake No 10 (Dodge County), and Maple Creek Recreation Area (Colfax County) were found to have above normal E. coli levels.

The public is advised that swimming and activities which could cause accidental ingestion of water are not permitted when a health alert for toxic blue-green algae is posted.  The designated swimming beaches are closed. While recreational boating and fishing are permitted, the public should avoid activities that could cause accidental ingestion of water as well as full immersion in water.  The risks to humans come from external exposure (prolonged contact with skin) and from swallowing the water.  Symptoms from external exposure are skin rashes, lesions, and blisters.  Symptoms from ingestion can include headaches, nausea, muscular pains, central abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

 

High E. coli levels in a lake may be indicative of sewage contamination. However, affected lakes are  not posted for no swimming because it has not been declared unsafe.  Rather, this notice is issued so the public is aware that the higher E. coli levels may increase the risk of illness when swimming in the affected water.

If you experience health symptoms, notify your physician. You can also contact the Nebraska Regional Poison Center at 800-222-1222 for more information. Testing results for all lakes can be found on the NDEQ website.