Douglas County reports West Nile case

A mild case of probable West Nile virus has been diagnosed in a Douglas County resident, officials announced Thursday.

According to Douglas County Mosquito Control Manager Krista Jenkins the resident is about 50 years old and has a milder form of the disease.

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

"Remember to use mosquito repellent containing either DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus; wear long-sleeve shirts, pants and socks; be aware that mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn; remove standing water from around your house; and check to make sure the screens on your windows and doors fit properly."

State officials said West Nile virus most often is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Mosquitoes are carriers that become infected when they feed on infected birds.

Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals when they bite. The virus is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing a person infected with the virus, according to state health officials.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention most people infected with the virus will not have any type of illness or symptoms. It is estimated that 20 percent of the people who become infected develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and body aches.

Approximately 1 in 150 people (less than 1 percent) infected with the virus will develop a more severe form of the disease, West Nile encephalitis or meningitis. Symptoms of the more severe disease include severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.

"In 2007, Southern Nevada Health District reported the first human case July 13 and the first human case reported in a rural county in 2007 was Aug. 3," Azzam said.

Nevada State Veterinarian Phillip LaRussa continues to urge owners of horses, donkeys and mules to get their animals vaccinated.

"While there isn't a vaccine for humans, there is a vaccine available for horses, donkeys and mules," he said. "If you haven't vaccinated your equines, you need to vaccinate them now."

So far, this is the first case in Douglas County. Two have been reported in Lyon County and one in Washoe County. Across the state, eight cases have been reported.

Carson City has not reported any cases.

For more information about West Nile virus, visit http://health.nv.gov and http://agri.state.nv.us.

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