Health District identifies West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes
LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Health District’s Vector Surveillance Program has identified the first West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes of the season. One West Nile virus submission pool totaling three mosquitos was identified in the 89032 ZIP code. Additionally, a horse in the 89021 ZIP code has tested positive for West Nile virus. Horses, like people, are susceptible to the virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. Updated information on positive mosquito submission pools and mosquitoes that are tested in Clark County are posted on the Health District’s website.
“The identification of West Nile-positive mosquitoes is another reminder to the public of the importance of taking steps to eliminate breeding sources around their homes and to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Health District.
Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds. The illness is not spread from person to person. Many people with the virus will have no symptoms or very mild clinical symptoms of 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 illness and even death.
Ongoing surveillance by the Health District has not detected Aedes albopictus or Aedes aegypti, the species known to spread the Zika virus as well as chikungunya and dengue. For information about prevention tips, visit the Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance page.
In addition to Zika, West Nile virus, and St. Louis Encephalitis, the Southern Nevada Health District’s Vector Surveillance Program regularly tests mosquito pools for Western Equine Encephalitis, which is occasionally identified in Clark County. Residents can report green swimming pools and standing or stagnant water sources to local code enforcement agencies. Contact information for local jurisdictions’ code enforcement is available on the Health District website.
The Health District and the CDC advise everyone to take the following steps at home or if traveling:
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens.
Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
To protect your child from mosquito bites:
Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.