The Southern Nevada Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance Program identified the first West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes of the season in the 89005 ZIP code. The first human case of West Nile virus in Southern Nevada was reported in April. The individual, a female over the age of 50, had the more serious neuroinvasive form of the illness and has recovered. There were no reported human cases of West Nile virus in Clark County last year.
“We know that there is an increased risk for West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses in Southern Nevada during this time of the year,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “I would encourage everyone to take the appropriate precautions to do their part to ensure their homes are free of standing water, use insect repellent appropriately, and to report mosquito activity to our agency.”
West Nile virus is most commonly spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes that have acquired the virus by feeding on infected birds. Many people with the virus will have no symptoms or very mild clinical 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 Southern Nevada Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance Program regularly tests mosquito pools for West Nile, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Western Equine Encephalitis. As of May 31, Health District staff has set 711 traps throughout Clark County with 7,759 mosquitoes submitted to the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory for analysis. The program also conducts surveillance for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the two species known to spread the Zika virus. Weekly Arbovirus Updates are available on the Health District website.
The Health District recommends the following to prevent mosquito bites and to eliminate breeding sources: · Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents 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.