Five more infected with West Nile virus Latest victims bring total number of people infected to 9 in Northern Nevada |

Five more infected with West Nile virus Latest victims bring total number of people infected to 9 in Northern Nevada

Tribune News Service

Five new cases of West Nile virus have been reported by the Nevada State Health Division, bringing the total number of people infected in the state to nine this year.

According to Annie Uccelli, Health Department spokeswoman, the latest victims are two Lyon County residents, both under 50 years of age; one Lincoln County resident, over 50 years of age; one Churchill County resident, under 50 years of age and one Humboldt County resident, under 50 years of age.

This brings the total number of human cases associated with West Nile virus in Nevada to nine. Human case counts by county are: Lyon, 3; Lincoln, 1; Humboldt, 3; Douglas, 1; Churchill, 1.

“As we continue to enjoy outdoor activities during the last days of summer, it’s important to remember that mosquitoes remain active in every county in our state – that means that West Nile virus is still a threat to the public’s health,” said Dr. Bradford Lee, Nevada State Health Officer.

“Now is the time to remain vigilant in practicing the preventive measures to reduce the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes. Remember to use mosquito repellent containing either DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, preferably in that order, wear long sleeve shirts, pants and socks, be aware that mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, remove standing water from around your house and check to make sure the screens on your windows and doors fit properly.”

Historically, during the second year a state experiences West Nile virus, the incidence of human infection tends to increase.

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“Fortunately, Nevada has not had many human cases this year, compared to our neighboring state, California, but the mosquito season is far from over,” Dr. Lee said. “While serious symptoms of West Nile virus infection are more common in people 50 years and over, we have seen that three individuals under the age of 50 have developed the severe form of the disease. Prevention is the key to decrease your chance of being infected with West Nile virus.”

West Nile virus most often is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes are WNV carriers that become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread WNV to humans and other animals when they bite. West Nile virus is not spread through casual contact such as touching or kissing a person with the virus, Lee said.

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 the people who become infected will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness and body aches.

Approximately one in 150 persons infected with virus will develop a more severe form of the disease, West Nile encephalitis or meningitis. Symptoms of the more severe disease include severe headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. A Carson City teacher who lives in Lyon County was diagnosed with West Nile meningitis Aug. 19.

While there is no specific treatment for the infection, people who have been exposed to mosquitoes and experience symptoms of the more severe illness are encouraged to contact their health care provider immediately, Lee said.