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      Fight the Bite: On the Lookout for Mosquitoes

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      No one wants to be the main course for a mosquito this summer and experts say that while cases of West Nile don't usually start popping up until July, that doesn't mean people shouldn't start taking precautions to fight the bite.

      "They hurt, the bites always itch," said Haley Nelson, of Minden.

      "When I forget to put on bug spray is when I get bit,” explained McKayla Johnson, of Minden.

      A bite can be more serious than we may think.

      "I think there was one case in the previous year of West Nile and to have ten in one year is pretty incredible," said Marsha Carlson, a public health nurse from Two Rivers Public Health.

      Central Nebraska saw the most cases of West Nile, four times more than years before.

      "People were caught off guard last year because we had a drought and we weren't seeing a lot of mosquitoes and so people weren't wearing deet as much and just not taking it seriously," explained Carlson.

      People may think the late winter could protect us from those pests, but think again.

      “Unfortunately no, the culex mosquitoes the ones that carry West Nile here in Nebraska are still around. Our guys have started trapping already. They aren't getting large amounts of mosquitoes, but they are getting some so the mosquitoes are still here," said Heather Easton, Wellness and Environmental coordinator at Two Rivers Public Health.

      "Somehow mosquitoes seem so resistant they can survive a lot," added Carlson.

      Nebraska alone saw five deaths last year and had the third most cases of West Nile in the U.S.

      "Nebraska unfortunately is a hotbed. It’s here to stay, it’s not going away," explained Easton.

      Health officials want to remind folks that if there is any standing water around, dump it out now to help reduce the number of mosquitoes buzzing around, which could eventually cut down the number of illnesses.
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