Summers bring warm nights, vacations and fairs. Summers also mean the return of insects.
Street Superintendent Jason Moore said they spray for mosquitoes in Beatrice once three of their four mosquito traps catch 50 or more mosquitoes.
“Our numbers are going down every time,” Moore said. “The places we set these traps are places that- it’s in the park next to the river, it’s in Hannibal next to the drainage, it’s places where if we’re going to find mosquitoes, you’re going to get them in the traps.”
They have also sprayed near popular outdoor events, such as the Fourth of July and the Gage County Fair.
Moore said they’ll spray around Labor Day weekend and again near the end of September.
“October is normally your time frame where you’re going to find late mosquitoes, which are your most likely to carry West Nile,” Moore said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the West Nile Virus occurs through the bite of an infected mosquito. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms, and about 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services reported that 242 individuals were infected with WNV and 11 died in 2018.
So far in 2019, five individuals were infected and one person has died from WNV in Nebraska.
The CDC says risk of WNV can be reduced by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to prevent mosquito bites.
Moore also talked about the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, also known as sleeping sickness.
Also caused through a mosquito bite, the CDC says the EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections, like encephalitis. An average of seven human cases of EEE are reported each year, with approximately 30 percent of people dying, and many survivors having ongoing neurologic problems.
Moore mentioned the case of EEE in a 60-year-old man from Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Public Health Officials say this is the first human case of EEE in the state since 2013, and the risk level in nine communities has been raised to critical as a result.
“Anybody with horses knows that this is something that’s been around,” Moore said. “But it is something now that’s being spread to humans, and you’re hearing about it a little bit more.”