50-year-old Douglas County resident has a less-severe form of the West Nile virus
August 20, 2005
A 50-year-old Douglas County resident was diagnosed with the West Nile virus, health officials said Friday.
According to Annie Uccelli with the Nevada State Division of Health, the individual is experiencing West Nile fever, a less-severe form of the disease. This brings the total of confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in Nevada to four.
“The weather is still warm and mosquitoes remain active in every county in our state. That means the West Nile virus is still a threat to the public’s health,” said Dr. Bradford Lee, Nevada State Health officer. “I cannot stress enough the importance of practicing the preventive measures to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes.”
Previously, the division announced a human case of the virus in Lyon County and two in Humboldt County.
West Nile virus is often spread by the bite of a mosquito that became infected when it fed on infected birds. Lee cautions the virus is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing someone with the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people infected with the virus will not have any type of illness or symptoms. It is estimated that 20 percent of people who become infected will develop West Nile virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and body aches. Approximately one in 150 people will develop a more severe form of the disease West Nile encephalitis or meningitis. Symptoms of the more severe form include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
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“While serious symptoms of West Nile virus are more common in people 50 years and over, we have already seen that people under the age of 50 can also develop the severe form of the disease,” Lee said.
Lee said the following preventive measures can reduce a person’s chance of infection: using mosquito repellent containing either DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus; wearing long-sleeve shirts, pants and socks; being aware that mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn; removing standing water from around your house and making sure the screens on your doors and windows are secure.