Human Case of West Nile Reported in Pershing County

State health officials Friday said a person in Pershing County has been confirmed with a case of West Nile virus.

The person is under the age of 50 and has a less severe form of the disease, West Nile fever, health officials said.

It's the second human case in Nevada this year. The other was in Clark County.

Last year in Nevada there were 124 human cases, including one death, reported to the state health division.

The disease is spread by mosquitoes that become infected when they feed on infected birds.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people who contract the virus won't become ill. About 20 percent will develop West Nile fever, with symptoms of fever, headache, tiredness and body aches.

In severe cases, it can develop into encephalitis or meningitis, and patients can experience stupor, neck stiffness, severe headaches, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.

The best way to protect against the virus is to wear insect repellent, long sleeves, pants and socks, especially when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, said Dr. Ihsan Azzam, state epidemiologist.

"West Nile virus is here to stay and I cannot stress enough the importance of practicing the preventive measures to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes," Azzam said.

Officials also recommend removing any standing water where mosquitoes might breed and to make sure window screens are intact
and fit properly.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)