Mosquitoes in Nebraska Panhandle Found with West Nile Virus


DHHS Confirms First Case in Nebraska

Lincoln – A Panhandle mosquito trap site recently collected mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile virus. These are the first confirmed positive mosquitoes in Nebraska. Mosquito surveillance and testing gives the Panhandle Public Health District (PPHD), along with other health departments, an early indicator of where and when the virus is circulating providing valuable information where people may come into contact with mosquitoes carrying the virus.

Multiple locations across Nebraska are routinely monitored to trap and test mosquitoes over the summer months. Human cases of West Nile are also used for surveillance; however, at this time, there have been no human cases of West Nile detected.

West Nile virus is contracted through the bite of a mosquito. Symptoms may include a fever and headaches, although eight out of ten people remain asymptomatic. Severe cases of West Nile can lead to meningitis, encephalitis, disorientation, convulsions, paralysis, and potentially death. People with compromised immune systems are especially susceptible to this disease and individuals >50 years of age are at higher risk of developing severe disease. No specific vaccines or antivirals are available for treatment of West Nile virus infection.

Prevention is the best way to avoid getting diseases from mosquitoes. All Nebraska residents are encouraged to:

  • Use an EPA approved insect repellent that has DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Be careful at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants, especially when out hiking and camping.
  • Frequently check your property for standing water and drain items such as wagons, bird baths, flowerpots, gutters, and tires. Mosquitoes can breed in small pools of water.
  • Be cautious outdoors until there are consistently low overnight temperatures, even with sudden changes in weather

If you have any questions about West Nile virus, please call Melissa Haas at 308-487-3600 extension 108 or e-mail at or 402-471-2937.  Additional information is available at: or

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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