Nevada’s first case of West Nile virus found | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada’s first case of West Nile virus found

TERI VANCE

A dead crow found in a Carson City yard Friday tested positive for West Nile virus, Nevada’s first reported case of the disease.

“There’s no reason to panic,” said Daren Winkelman, the city’s health director. “This is no warning of any sort. We just want people to be aware it’s here.”

Over the weekend, Washoe County District Health Department’s Vector- Borne Disease Program installed 20 mosquito traps where the crow was found.

Only one trap caught mosquitoes in the 24-hour period. All of them tested negative for the disease.

“We’re not dealing with a huge mosquito population here,” said Mike Faisy, senior environmental health specialist.

Although West Nile virus may lead to swelling of the brain or the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, that is only about a 1 percent risk.

Most victims exhibit no symptoms. About one in 150 will experience headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness or paralysis.

Officials said the public can play an important role in tracking the possible spread of the disease.

“The dead crow was reported to Carson City Health Department by an alert citizen who knew we were looking for dead birds to test,” said David Thain, state veterinarian. “Dead- and sick-bird reporting is an important component to our surveillance efforts.”

Health department officials also advise people to take precautions against mosquito bites when outdoors, especially around dawn or dusk.

Horse owners should vaccinate against the West Nile virus as soon as possible. In California, there was one case of equine West Nile virus reported in 2003.

This year, 26 cases have been reported, and 11 horses have died.

Tips to avoid West Nile Virus:

• Apply insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors, especially during dawn or dusk.

• When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks.

• Drain standing water from around your house.

• Check the screens on your home to make sure they fit properly.

For Your Information:

For more information on the West Nile Virus, visit http://www.agri.state.nv.us and click on the mosquito icon, or go to health2K.state.nv.us and click on West Nile Virus under “Hot Topics.”

Contact Teri Vance at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or at 881-1272.