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. Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department helps people with understanding animal testing steps and to decide if exposure to rabies was likely so proper medical treatment can be sought.
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., second only to smoking. To help protect you and your family, Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department provides Radon test kits during January and February each year for $7.00 plus tax. We also provide information on how to fix existing homes to lower Radon levels and Radon resistant methods for new home construction.
Radon testing is simple to do...click here to view a brief video on how to test.
Radon is a serious issue as it is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year. Radon is an invisible, odorless gas that occurs naturally in the soil and can enter homes through cracks and holes in the foundation, walls and water pipes. In Nebraska there are dangerously high levels of Radon and nearly one in two homes has levels well above the safe zone.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises that homes with Radon levels of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air or more be mitigated (fixed). Past testing has shown that the normal radon levels in Burt, Madison, Stanton and Cuming Counties range from 7.5 to 10.4 pCi/L. Knowing the Radon level in your home is important because the problem can be fixed by installing a Radon mitigation system. Also, it is important for people building new homes to learn about Radon resistant construction techniques. For further information please visit the EPA’s website to view the “Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction” at http://www.epa.gov/radon/pdfs/consguid.pdf.
2016 Radon results in Burt, Cuming, Madison and Stanton counties:
Over 340 home owners from Burt, Cuming, Madison, and Stanton counties picked up short-term home Radon test kits during January-March, 2016. Of the 219 test kits that were used and returned, results showed that the average amount of radon measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) was 9.3 in Burt County, 6.4 in Cuming County, 7.8 in Madison County and 8.9 in Stanton County. In order to prevent poor health outcomes due to high radon levels, retesting or mitigation is recommended for results above 4.0 pCi/L. Of the test kits returned this year, almost two out of three homes tested (65%) had results over 4.0 pCi/L. The range for the kits sent in from the four counties during 2016 was 0.3 - 30.6 pCi/L.
Radon Data Brief – 2015-2016
The Radon program is possible through funding provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
West Nile Activities at Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department:
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 2006, Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department (ELVPHD) 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.
West Nile virus Health Information:
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..
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.
Common mosquito repellants and how long they last
ELVPHD West Nile Virus Data Brief 2003-2015
West Nile virus prevention activities are possible through funding provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.