Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) and Douglas County Mosquito Abatement (DCMA) are reporting the first human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the Carson City-Douglas County area for 2018. The individual confirmed to have WNV was diagnosed with the less severe form of the illness.
West Nile virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes, which acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds. The illness isn’t spread person to person. Many people with the virus will have no symptoms or mild flu-like 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.
Less than 1 percent of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. If you’re experiencing this type of illness, it’s important to seek medical treatment.
The most effective way to avoid West Nile virus disease is to prevent mosquito bites. CCHHS and DCMA advise Nevadans and visitors to take the following precautions to prevent West Nile virus throughout the summer months:
• Use insect repellents when you go outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. More information about insect repellents can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html.
• When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. Don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Don’t spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
• Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
• Mosquito-proof your home. Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside. Use your air conditioning, if you have it. Empty standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.
The CCHHS environmental health specialists and DCMA staff routinely survey known breeding sources for mosquitoes and trap them for identification. In addition to West Nile virus, mosquitoes are also tested for Western Equine Encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis.
For information about West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, visit www.GetHealthyCarsonCity.org or contact us at (775) 887-2190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about Douglas County’s mosquito abatement efforts, see http://dcmosquito.wix.com/dcmad.