2 cases of human West Nile found in Humboldt Co. | NevadaAppeal.com

2 cases of human West Nile found in Humboldt Co.

Staff report

Two more Nevada residents have been diagnosed with West Nile virus, according to the Nevada State Health Division.

In July, a Lyon County resident was diagnosed with the first confirmed case of the disease in 2005.

Both victims of the latest cases are Humboldt County residents. One is over the age of 50, and one is under the age of 50, according to a statement issued by the health division. The individual under the age of 50 has the less severe form of the disease, West Nile fever. The individual over the age of 50 has the more severe form of the disease, known as West Nile encephalitis.

Health officials did not release any more information on the two victims.

“As we know, West Nile virus is here in Nevada,” said Dr. Bradford Lee, state health officer. “I cannot stress enough the importance of practicing the preventive measures to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes.”

Lee recommends the use of mosquito repellent containing either DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, with DEET being the most recommended repellent, wearing long-sleeve shirts, long pants and socks.

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He also said mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, that residents should remove standing water from around their homes and make sure screens fit properly.

Washoe County health officials are turning their efforts from collecting and testing birds to wiping out mosquitoes.

Tracie Douglas, public information officer for the Washoe County District Health Department, said the public is doing an excellent job of reporting dead birds, so much so that the department is no longer collecting them.

“Last week four of our people spent two or three full days doing nothing but picking up birds,” she said. “Now we’re going to ramp up our efforts to fight the mosquito population.”

“Testing birds early in the season is an excellent method of finding West Nile virus before it reaches the human population,” said Scott Monsen, program manager for the Vector Borne Disease Program. “But once the evidence becomes significant, it is much more time and cost effective to take the vector, in this case the mosquito, out of the situation.”

There have been no human cases of West Nile virus reported in Washoe County.

West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the disease to humans and other animals when they bite. West Nile virus is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing a person with the virus.

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

Approximately one in 150 persons, or less than 1 percent, infected with West Nile 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.