west-nile-virusLAS VEGAS–The first case of West Nile Virus for 2015 has been detected in mosquitoes in and around the Las Vegas area.

The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting the first West Nile positive mosquitoes of 2015 were collected in the 89011, 89012, 89027, 89107, 89123, 89128, 89134 and 89146 zip codes. To date, there are no human cases of West Nile virus reported in Clark County.

Last year, the SNHD received reports of two people who had been infected with West Nile virus. There were no reported deaths. With the identification of positive mosquitoes in Clark County it is likely that West Nile virus infected mosquitoes are present throughout the valley and precautions against the disease are recommended for all residents and visitors.

West Nile virus can be prevented by using insect repellants and eliminating sources of standing water which support mosquito breeding.

“We encourage our residents to ‘fight the bite’ by using insect repellants, wearing protective clothing, and limiting their outdoor activity at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District.

West Nile virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes, which acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds. The illness is not spread 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.

The SNHD’s environmental health specialists routinely survey known breeding sources for mosquitoes and trap them for identification. Residents can report green swimming pools and standing or stagnant water sources to local code enforcement agencies.

In addition to West Nile virus, mosquitoes are also being tested for Western Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis.

SNHD recommends the following to prevent mosquito bites and to eliminate breeding sources:

-Apply an insect repellent containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) according to manufacturer’s directions.   -Repellents containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus also have some efficacy. However, DEET is the best-studied and most-effective repellant available.
-Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors.
-Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, notably at dusk (the first two hours after sunset) and dawn.
-Eliminate areas of standing water, including bird baths, “green” swimming pools, and sprinkler runoff, which support mosquito breeding.

Updated information will be posted on the Health District’s website at www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org as it becomes available