An eastern Nebraska public health department reported a West Nile death Wednesday, which is the second death reported by the department in less than one week.
Terra Uhing, executive director of the Three Rivers Public Health Department, reported the first death of the year from the mosquito-borne virus on Monday.
Both individuals were older adults with underlying health conditions and both lived in counties served by the Three Rivers Public Health Department, which includes Dodge, Saunders and Washington Counties, according to a news release from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
The state department began its West Nile virus surveillance at the beginning of June. As of Wednesday, 26 mosquito pools had tested positive from 12 counties in Nebraska.
Most people exposed to the virus don’t get sick. About 20% become ill, and less than 1% experience serious illness that can lead to death. Those who are older or have underlying medical conditions or depressed immune systems are at higher risk of severe infections.
People can reduce their risk of West Nile by taking precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.