West Nile Cases Drop in Nebraska

Nebraska had a dramatic decrease in West Nile cases reported in 2019. (Photo courtesy CDC)
December 16, 2019 - 1:15pm

Preliminary statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Nebraska and the rest of the country saw a significant drop in West Nile virus cases this year.


Nebraska had reported only 28 human cases of the mosquito-borne disease, according to December 3 reports from the CDC. 2019’s figure would be the smallest reported by Nebraska since 2001. At the end of last year, Nebraska had the most cases in the country with 251.

(Graphic by Will Bauer, NET News)

“We were extremely thrilled to see this dramatic reduction in West Nile cases this year,” said Tom Safranek, Nebraska state epidemiologist.

Public health officials saw more mosquitoes in Nebraska this year because of the wet summer, which is a common occurrence as mosquitoes breed in water. However, Safranek said officials saw less of the specific West Nile species, which has become a trend.

“We think climate can play a big role in this," Safranek said. "And when we have drought seasons, we see more West Nile virus. It’s almost counterintuitive. Different than what you would expect.”

More research is being done regarding the correlation between climate and the West Nile virus, Safranek said.

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