Animal & Insect Bites

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Rabies is a viral disease of the nervous system which can infect humans through the saliva of infected animals. Animals that may carry the rabies virus are dogs, cats, bats, raccoons, coyotes, foxes, and skunks. Rabies is passed to humans from rabid animals through bites or saliva entering an open wound. Even after exposure, rabies is preventable if given proper medical treatment. Public Health Solutions Health Department will help citizens, concerned about the disease due to exposure, with understanding animal testing steps and to confirm if exposure to rabies was likely and if so proper medical treatment can be sought.

Rabies Prevention

Visit your veterinarian with your pet on a regular basis and keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs.

Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.

Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or vaccinated regularly.

Call animal control to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood since these animals may be unvaccinated or ill.

Teach children to never tough or attempt to catch wild animals.

Know where your children visit and make sure adult supervision is provided when they are in contact with pets that are not known to you.

For more information on rabies, visit

If you have been bitten by an animal, wash the wound thoroughly and seek medical attention immediately. To speak with a disease surveillance staff member, please call Public Health Solutions at 402-826-3880.

West Nile Virus Activities

Insects can not only be annoying during humid, summer months, but they can also carry harmful diseases. Some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus which can be spread to humans and cause illness. Since 2003, Public Health Solutions District Health Department has conducted West Nile tracking activities and has provided prevention education each summer. West Nile Virus activity is tracked by using mosquito traps in select areas and by collecting dead birds for lab testing. See below for more detailed information on mosquito trapping in our district.


West Nile Virus Health


West Nile virus is an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) most often spread by infected mosquitoes. West Nile virus can cause serious illness. It was first found in North America in 1999, and has since spread across the continental U.S.

Week of June 24, 2021
*Total trapped in PHS District – 136

Mosquito Type # Trapped General Info
Aedes vexans 74 Also called the Inland Floodwater Mosquito, it breeds in temporary, rain-filled pools in low areas or in roadside irrigation ditches. Aedes vexans are the most dominant species in North America. Females feed in the evening, peaking in activity about one hour after sunset. It may transmit heartworms to dogs, however, it is otherwise not considered to be a serious disease threat to humans.
Anopheles punctipennis 2 Also called the Woodland Malaria Mosquito, it can transmit Eastern Equine Encephalitits, Western Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. Historically, this mosquito species is thought to have been the main vector for malaria in miners in the U.S. during the gold rush era. It’s an aggressive day and dusk biting mosquito.
Coquillettidia perturbans 11 Also called the Cattail Mosquito, it is a potential vector for West Nile Virus, but is much less efficient at transmitting the infection compared to other mosquito species.
Culex salinarius 10 Also known as the Un-banded Saltmarsh Mosquito, is it most abundant along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and is the principal vector of West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Japanese Encephalitis.
Culex tarsalis 31 Also known as the Western Encephalitis Mosquito, it can transmit West Nile Virus and several other encephalitis diseases. This mosquito is most active a few hours after sunset.
Risk Factors

Most people get infected with West Nile virus by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals. The risk of infection is highest for people who work outside or those who take part in in outdoor activities because of greater exposure to mosquitoes. In a very small number of cases, West Nile virus has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from mother to baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. People with certain health problems, such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease are also at greater risk for serious illness.

Signs and Symptoms

If bitten by an infected mosquito, people normally develop symptoms of West Nile virus between two days and two weeks later. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that about 80% of human infections of West Nile virus cause no symptoms, while 20% cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, weakness, headache, and muscle or joint pain. A small number of people (less than 1%) will have severe neurological illness including headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis which may last for many weeks or months and cause permanent neurological damage. About 10% of those who develop neurological symptoms will die.


The best way to avoid West Nile virus disease is to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellents (bug spray) when you go outdoors. Those which DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants from dusk through dawn when many mosquitoes are most active.
  • Install or fix screens on windows and doors. If you have it, use your air conditioning.
  • Help lower the number of mosquitoes around your home. Empty standing water from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths.

For more information on West Nile Virus prevention and mosquito control:

West Nile virus prevention activities are possible through funding provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.


  • Tick exposure occurs year-round, however ticks are most active during warmer months (April-September).
  • Tips to Prevent Tick Bites:
    • Use an EPA-regstered insect repellent that contains DEET
    • Know where to expect ticks and avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
    • Treat clothing and gear with products containly 0.5% permethrin.
    • For more information on tick safety, visit