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More time outside means more exposure to mosquitoes

Posted 9/21/2007

Dr David Thain, University of Nevada State Extension Veterinarian, sends out a weekly briefing that includes a public health update. The September 20, 2007 briefing reports five new confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Nevada. Although none of the cases were in our immediate area, we still need to be vigilant as the sports teams and fans spend more time outdoors during peak mosquito activity times. Our sports teams travel to areas that have confirmed cases and/or positive mosquito pools. Although the U.S., WNV cases are most prevalent in late summer and early autumn; in Nevada, mosquito season is typically April through October.

The five additional human cases associated with WNV recorded last week, brings the total human case count for this year to eight. The additional human cases reside in the following counties: Churchill County: two cases over the age of 50; Elko County: two cases under the age of 50; Nye County: one case over the age of 50. The previous human cases reported to the Health Division reside in the following counties: Clark County: two cases under the age of 50; Pershing County: one case under the age of 50. One mosquito pool submitted last week from Clark County tested positive for WNV.

When it comes to West Nile Virus protection, it is not necessary to limit any outdoor activities; the best way to "fight the bite" is to try to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitos. Remove standing water; make sure window screens fit properly; wear long sleeves, long pants when outdoors, especially during prime mosquito activity (dusk and dawn); use mosquito repellent (DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, certain products containing permethrin).

West Nile Virus (WNV) is an arbovirus that can cause illness in humans, including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Mosquitos get the virus by feeding on infected birds and can then pass it on to other birds, and occasionally to other animals and people. The virus is not spread person-to-person. WNV was first detected in Nevada in 2004, and has been reported in all counties. For more information about WNV, please access the Health Division’s website: http://health.nv.gov. Under "Hot Topics," click on West Nile Virus.

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