Health District confirms 1st case of West Nile virus in Southern Nev. for 2017

LAS VEGAS - The Southern Nevada Health District reported Thursday its first human case of West Nile virus in Southern Nevada for 2017.

It was found in a 50-year-old man, who has the more serious neuroinvasive form of the illness, the Southern Nevada Health District said.

There were two reported West Nile cases and three cases of St. Louis Encephalitis, a similar mosquito-borne illness, in 2016.

“Mosquito bites and the diseases spread by infected mosquitoes are preventable,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Health District. “Southern Nevada residents can take preventive measures against mosquito bites and simple steps to eliminate mosquito breeding sources around their homes to protect
themselves, their families, and communities.”

West Nile virus is acquired in mosquitoes when the insects feeds on infected birds.  However, the illness is not spread person to person.

Many people with the virus will either have no symptoms or very mild clinical symptoms of the illness. Mild symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back.

In some cases, the virus can cause severe neurologic illness and even death.

The Health District recommends the following to prevent mosquito bites and to eliminate breeding

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellants containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or 2-undecanone.  
  • Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to reduce mosquito exposure when outdoors.
  • Eliminate areas of standing water around your home, including non-circulating ponds,
  • “green” swimming pools, and accumulated sprinkler runoff, which support mosquito breeding.

Additional prevention tips are available on the CDC’s Prevent Mosquito Bites webpage.