Washoe health officials say West Nile case likely acquired locally

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Washoe Health District says a South Meadows-area resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus. It is the first human case this year in Washoe County that is suspected to have been acquired locally. Health officials say it is the less severe non-neuroinvasive type of the virus.

The announcement follows the report of positive tests of mosquito samples from the Damonte Ranch and Hidden Valley areas in late July.

“We have been fortunate this year to see less West Nile Virus activity than last, but people still need to take precautions when outside,” says Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “Even though we monitor mosquito activity, conduct larvicide treatments, and fog areas of known activity, this is a reminder that people must be vigilant and take personal measures to keep from being bitten by mosquitoes,” said Dick. The Health Officer adds that because different types of mosquitoes bite at different times, CDC has changed its recommendations to include:

"People should use insect repellent whenever they go outside because mosquitoes can bite during the day and night depending on location and type."

Updated CDC information can be found here.

The Health District is fogging areas where known mosquito activity is present. Health officials emphasize the importance of people taking precautions as suggested by the CDC to keep mosquitoes from biting. In addition to using repellent, people should remember to:

Wear proper clothing and repellent if going outdoors in mosquito–prone areas, especially in the early morning and evening in the Washoe County area. Remember mosquitoes can bite during the day and night.
Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
Clear standing water and any items from around homes that can be potential mosquito breeding-grounds, including small puddles, pools, planters, children’s sandboxes, wagons or toys, underneath and around faucets, as well as plant saucers and pet bowls.
Vaccinate your horses for WNV.

The Washoe County Health District’s Communicable Disease Program investigates all reported cases of diseases such as WNV. Healthcare providers should consider a WNV infection as a diagnosis for patients who are ill and have recently experienced mosquito bites. Symptoms may include fever, headache, body ache, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Those with a more severe infection may experience high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and death. In humans, the virus has an incubation period of three to ten days.

Residents may report mosquito activity to the Health District at 785-4599 or 328-2434. More information on WNV and the Washoe County Health District’s Vector-Borne Disease Prevention Program can be found here.