Washoe Records State's First Case Of West Nile

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Nevada has recorded its first case of West Nile disease, but health officials say the victim was infected in another state. They add that the person has fully recovered.

Until now, Nevada was one of only four states in the contiguous states to be spared the mosquito-borne disease.

The officials said the person began feeling ill during the last few days of a vacation in Colorado and sought medical attention upon return to Nevada.

Since the person was infected in another state, Washoe County will report the case to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an imported one, according to District Health Officer Barbara Lee Hunt.

Colorado has reported 1,542 cases of the disease to the CDC with 27 deaths.

Blood samples from the Nevada victim were sent to the state public health laboratory as well as the CDC in Atlanta a month ago and positive results were received this week.

While Nevada appears to have escaped any direct infection this year, health officials say mosquito season is not quite over and recommend the use of bug repellant outdoors, especially in the early morning and early evening hours.

West Nile first appeared in the United States in New York in 1999. Since then, it has advanced rapidly across the country. Oregon, Washington and Idaho remain the only states that have yet to report any cases.

Mosquitoes pick up the disease from infected birds and transmit it to the people and horses they bite. The virus causes fevers and aches and can lead to potentially fatal swelling of the brain.

Symptoms include a stiff neck and a severe headache. There is no vaccination for people and since it's a virus, antibiotics are of no use. Horses can be vaccinated against the disease, but need annual booster shots to retain protection against infection

The Nevada Department of Agriculture will continue testing mosquitoes caught in traps and blood samples drawn from wild horses and sentinel flocks for signs of the disease through early October, according to state Veterinarian David Thain.


On the Net:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov

Nevada Department of Agriculture: http://www.agri.state.nv.us