LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – Health officials have discovered the mosquito variety known for carrying the Zika virus in a portion of Clark County, the first such detection of the insect ever in southern Nevada, according to the Southern Nevada Health District’s Vector Surveillance Program.
The agency identified the Aedes Aegypti mosquito in the 89032 zip code area of Clark County on Wednesday, the group reported. Health District staff will be doing extensive surveillance to determine the scope of the Aedes mosquito population in the area and providing nearby residents with breeding prevention information. If further evidence of breeding activity is discovered the Health District will consider appropriate control measures.
Before being identified in Southern Nevada, the Aedes species has been identified in California and Arizona. To date, mosquitoes in those states have not tested positive for the Zika virus. The mosquitoes identified in Clark County will be sent to be tested for the Zika virus. Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes can become infected if they bite an infected person while he or she still has the virus in their blood. The mosquito then needs to live long enough to bite someone after the virus has had time to multiply in its system.
“We have conducted active surveillance for the Aedes mosquito since 2014,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. “Detecting the mosquitoes early on, before there is local transmission of disease, will allow us to put our response plans in place and work with our community to implement preventive measures that eliminate breeding sources and help prevent the potential spread of the Zika virus and other diseases,” said Iser.
The Health District reported 22 cases of Zika virus in Clark County residents in 2016. Twenty-one cases were travel associated, and one was sexually transmitted. There has been one travel associated case reported in 2017. In addition to mosquito bites, Zika virus can be spread from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, and it can spread during sex from an infected person to his or her partners.
Residents are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Unlike mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus and are most active at dawn and dusk, Aedes mosquitoes are more aggressive during the day. They are known to breed near homes and primarily bite humans. Residents are urged to report all mosquito activity to the Health District, especially day-biting mosquitoes. Mosquito activity can be reported to the Vector Surveillance Program at 702-759-1633.