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Published On: Thu, Jul 4th, 2013

Clark County, Nevada reports two human West Nile virus infections, first of 2013

The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) is reporting its first human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in Clark County for 2013.

Clark County, Nevada Image/David Benbennick

Clark County (Red), Nevada
Image/David Benbennick

According to a health department news release July 3, the two patients are a 60-year-old woman who is hospitalized with the more serious neuroinvasive form of the illness, and a 70-year-old man with the less serious form of the illness.

This comes one day after the SNHD reported the first WNV positive mosquitoes this summer. They were collected in the 89014 zip code.

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation. West Nile virus was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York. Prior to that it had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all.

Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness. The severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.

There is no specific treatment for WNV infection.

Last year, the health district received reports of eight people who had been infected with West Nile virus, one of whom died.

Clark County is a county located in Southern Nevada. The county, home of Las Vegas, had a population of 2,000,759 at the 2012 census estimate, and is the most populous county in the state of Nevada, accounting for nearly three-quarters of its residents.

The health district 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.

 

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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