(Las Vegas, NV) The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting its first human cases of West Nile virus in Clark County for 2013.
The two patients are a 60-year-old woman who is hospitalized with the more serious neuroinvasive form of the illness, and a 70-year-old man with the less serious form of the illness.
Last year, the health district received reports of eight people who had been infected with West Nile virus, one of whom died. The health district reminds Southern Nevadans and visitors to take precautions to prevent West Nile virus infection.
Most cases of West Nile virus occur during the summer months. On Tuesday, the health district reported the first West Nile positive mosquitoes this summer. They were collected in the 89014 zip code. With the identification of positive mosquitoes in one area of Clark County it is likely that West Nile virus infected mosquitoes are present throughout the valley.
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.
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. In 2011, Nevada reported 16 cases, 11 of which were in Clark County. There were no human cases of West Nile virus were reported in Clark County in 2010.