By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials from Nebraska and South Dakota reported their first human West Nile virus (WNV) cases of the year on Friday.


Culex tarsalis mosquito/CDC

In Nebraska, the first human case of West Nile virus for the 2021 season has been found in the Elkhorn-Logan Valley Health Department area (Burt, Cuming, Madison, and Stanton Counties). The person who tested positive was not hospitalized.

West Nile virus is the most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. with Nebraska having one of the highest rates of disease in the country. Last year, DHHS detected West Nile in 21 mosquito samples and reported 15 human cases (10 hospitalized) and one death. It has been detected every year in the state since 2002 with more than 4,000 cases and 86 deaths reported to date.

South Dakota

The South Dakota Department of Health confirmed that a Walworth County resident, a male in his 60’s, is South Dakota’s first human West Nile virus (WNV) case of the 2021 season.

Since the first human WNV case was reported in 2002, the state has reported 2,634 human cases, including 850 hospitalizations and 46 deaths. Every county has previously reported cases.

West Nile virus

West Nile virus is transmitted to people through the bite of a mosquito that became infected with the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people who are infected will have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms. Some people will develop a fever with other symptoms like headache, body aches, vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Less than one percent of people will develop a serious illness like encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues). People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.

As of July 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 11 human WNV cases, including one death.


West Nile virus (WNV) is spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes bite during the day and night. There is no vaccine to prevent WNV infection. The best way to prevent ­­­West Nile is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, treat clothing and gear, and take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors.