West Nile Virus strikes harder this year | NevadaAppeal.com

West Nile Virus strikes harder this year

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

West Nile Virus has hit Carson City harder this year than last, according to a state report released Friday. Statewide, human cases of the mosquito-borne virus are double what they were last year at this same time.

There are 18 cases so far in Nevada, which is nine more than what was reported last year in July and August. Two human cases of the mosquito-borne virus have been reported so far in the capital city. Last summer no human cases were reported, according to the Nevada State Health Division.

Ed Foster, Department of Agriculture spokesman, said Friday that more human cases have been reported so far, but agricultural-related cases are coming in slower.

The two human cases of West Nile Virus in Carson City were reported in July. He said there have been more human cases in several counties this first week of August.

A seasonal epidemic that flares up in the summer and continues into the fall, West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes that acquire the infection when they feed on infected birds, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Lyon, Churchill and Elko counties each have one human case reported this month, according to the health division report. Douglas County has three so far this summer, with two reported in the first week of August. One of the victims, Megan Most, is being treated at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center for encephalitis, meningitis and pneumonia.

Humboldt County has the most serious count: four cases in July and four in August. Washoe has one in July and another in August.

Serious symptoms, including a potentially fatal encephalitis, will occur in about one in 150 people infected with West Nile, but the infection is so mild in 80 percent of the people contracting it that there are no symptoms.

About 20 percent will experience flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It’s important to wear insect repellent when outdoors, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Long sleeves and pants are recommended, and people should remove any standing water around their homes that could provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Foster said this week has not turned up many positive test results in mosquito pools, horses and birds.

“We only had two mosquito pool positives in Elko this week, in Lyon two birds, in Douglas two birds and in Humboldt one horse,” he said. “It’s been a slow week.”

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

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