Nevada's 1st West Nile Case 2007 in Churchill County

FALLON (AP) - State officials have confirmed the first case of West Nile virus in Nevada this year in a sick magpie a state wildlife official discovered in Churchill County last month.

The employee for the Nevada Department of Wildlife employee swabbed the bird for samples on May 24th and submitted them to the Nevada Department of Agriculture and Food Safety Laboratory. The lab now has confirmed the positive results.

The finding comes weeks earlier than the first positive test in the state last year.

West Nile is a potentially serious virus spread mostly by infected mosquitoes. In rare cases it can lead to death, although the Centers for Disease Control says only about one in 150 people infected with it develop severe illness.

So far this year, more than 230 mosquito pools have been tested for the virus in several Nevada counties, all with negative results.

Last year, agriculture officials tested a total of 2,600 pools and found 153 positive for the virus. The Department of Agriculture also tested 125 birds last year, with 43 positive samples.

According to the CDC's Web site, Nevada accounted for 123 of the more than 42-hundred cases of West Nile virus reported last year in the country.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.