The risk of illnesses known to be carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito is low in Nebraska.

But the Three Rivers Public Health Department is recommending steps area residents can take to help protect themselves from mosquito-borne illnesses such as the Zika virus.

State health officials said earlier this week that a mosquito species native to tropical climates and known to carry the Zika virus was found in York County, the Associated Press reported.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services said it’s the first time this type of mosquito has been found in the state.

Health officials said the Aedes aegypti bites mostly during the daytime. It only feeds on people and only can fly about 500 feet.

Besides Zika, it also is known to spread yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue.

Dr. Tom Safranek, state epidemiologist, said the spread of such diseases would require an infected person to be bitten by the mosquito that then would have to bite an uninfected individual, making the risk of such infections low in Nebraska.

Amy Roberts, disease surveillance coordinator and health educator at Three Rivers, also said the risk is low.

She offered recommendations to help avoid infection from Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

These tips include:

  • Using a repellent that contains DEET.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks.
  • Removing standing water where mosquitoes breed.
  • Keeping mosquitoes outdoors by using screens on windows and doors.
  • Preventing mosquito bites while traveling overseas.

The Three Rivers health department is at 2400 N. Lincoln Ave., in Fremont. It serves Dodge, Saunders and Washington counties.

For more information, call 402-727-5396 or 1-866-727-5396.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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