Health District detects West Nile in mosquitoes

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The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting the first West Nile positive mosquitoes of 2014, collected in the 89103, 89107, 89129, 89138, and 89149 zip codes. To date, there are no human cases of West Nile virus reported in Clark County. Last year, the health district received reports of nine people who had been infected with West Nile virus, two of whom died. With the identification of positive mosquitoes in several areas of Clark County it is likely that West Nile virus infected mosquitoes are present throughout the valley and precautions against the disease are recommended for all residents and visitors. Updated information will be posted on the health district’s website as it becomes available: http://www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/download/stats-reports/wnv-report-080414.pdf

West Nile virus can be prevented by using insect repellants and eliminating sources of standing water which support mosquito breeding. For information about prevention tips, visit the health district’s West Nile virus pages on its website: http://www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/west-nile/index.php

West Nile virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes, which acquire 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 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 illness and even death.

The health district’s environmental health specialists routinely survey known breeding sources for mosquitoes and trap them for identification. Residents can report green swimming pools and standing or stagnant water sources to local code enforcement agencies. Contact information for local jurisdictions’ code enforcement is available on the health district website at: http://southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/forms/mosquito.php.

In addition to West Nile virus, mosquitoes are also tested for Western equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis.

The health district recommends the following to prevent mosquito bites and to eliminate breeding sources:

  • Apply an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) according to manufacturer’s directions.  Repellents containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus also have some efficacy. However, DEET is the best-studied and most-effective repellant available.
  • Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts, when outdoors.
  • Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, notably at dusk (the first two hours after sunset) and dawn.
  • Eliminate areas of standing water, including bird baths, “green” swimming pools and sprinkler runoff, which support mosquito breeding.

Updated information about the Southern Nevada Health District can be found on Facebook www.facebook.com/SouthernNevadaHealthDistrict, on YouTube  www.youtube.com/SNHealthDistrict  or Twitter: www.twitter.com/SNHDinfo. The health district is now available in Spanish on Twitter www.twitter.com/TuSNHD. Don’t have a Twitter account? Follow the health district on your phone by texting “follow SNHDinfo” to 40404.

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