State's first human West Nile virus case reported

The Nevada State Health Division reported Thursday its first human case of West Nile virus for 2008.

In a release, the division reported that the individual is a Lyon County resident under the age of 50. The department noted that the individual has a less-aggressive form of the virus - West Nile fever.

West Nile virus is most often spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are carriers that become infected when they feed off infected birds, the division noted in a statement. West Nile virus is not spread through casual contact such as kissing or touching a person infected with the virus.

While there is no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection, people who have been exposed to mosquitoes and experience symptoms should contact their health care provider immediately.

"I cannot stress enough the importance of practicing the preventive measures to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes," said Ihsan Azzam, state epidemiologist.

Some of the precautions Azzam noted include:

• Wearing insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

• Wearing long-sleeve shirts, pants and socks

• Be aware that mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn

• Remove standing water from around your house

• Make sure screens on your windows and doors fit properly.

The Centers for Disease Control notes that most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any type of illness or symptoms, and that 20 percent of the people who become infect will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness and body aches, the state noted in a release.

The more serious form of West Nile virus is known as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis. Those individuals experience fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors and paralysis.


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