Encourages everyone to take precautions against mosquito bites
The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting its second human case of West Nile virus in Southern Nevada in 2019. The individual, a female under the age of 50, has the more serious neuroinvasive form of the illness and has been hospitalized. The Health District reported its first West Nile case in April in a woman over the age of 50 with the more serious form of the illness; she has since recovered. There were no reported human cases of West Nile virus in Clark County last year.
“With a second case of West Nile virus, it is important to remind everyone that this is a preventable disease,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “By taking some simple steps, you can protect yourself from mosquito bites at home and when you are traveling this summer. It’s also important to eliminate mosquito breeding around your home to protect yourself and your family.”
West Nile virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes that have acquired the virus by feeding on infected birds. The illness is not spread person to person. Many people with the virus will have no symptoms or very mild symptoms of illness. Mild symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back. In some cases, the virus can cause severe neurologic illness and even death.
The Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance Program regularly tests mosquito pools for West Nile virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Western Equine Encephalitis. As of July 5, 1,137 mosquito traps have been set throughout Clark County with 29,541 mosquitoes submitted to the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory for analysis. The program has identified West Nile virus-positive mosquito pools in the 89005, 89032, 89101, 89110, 89123, 89129, 89131, and 89139 ZIP codes. The program also conducts surveillance for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the species that can transmit Zika and other viruses. This species was identified in Clark County in 2017. To date, none have tested positive for Zika virus.
The Health District recommends the following to prevent mosquito bites and to eliminate breeding sources:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellants containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or 2-undecanone.
- Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to reduce mosquito exposure when outdoors.
- Eliminate areas of standing water around your home, including non-circulating ponds, “green” swimming pools, and accumulated sprinkler runoff, which support mosquito breeding.
Additional prevention tips are available on the CDC’s Prevent Mosquito Bites webpage.