Two more Churchill residents are hit with West Nile |

Two more Churchill residents are hit with West Nile

Burke Wasson

The Nevada State Health Division reported Friday that two new human cases of West Nile virus have been found in Churchill County.

According to the state health division, the Churchill County cases involve one person under the age of 50 and another over 50. Both have been diagnosed with West Nile fever, which is the less severe form of the virus.

This makes a total of three people in Churchill County who have tested positive for West Nile this year. The first case was originally reported to the public Aug. 29 by the state health division and is believed to have occurred within the last two weeks.

Various health divisions also reported Sept. 2 that two people in Clark County, one in Washoe County and one in Nye County have tested positive for West Nile.

This brings the total number of West Nile human cases in Nevada this year to 16. Churchill County, Lyon County, Humboldt County and Clark County are all tied for the most human cases in the state with three each.

According to the state health department, a total of 44 human cases of West Nile were reported in the state in 2004 – including 15 people in the Fallon area. The last human case reported last year in the state came in October.

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Nevada State Health Division spokeswoman Annie Uccelli said she would estimate that all of the new human cases of West Nile probably occurred with a mosquito bite in the last month. She said symptoms usually don’t show until a few days after the bite and that the normal incubation period for a person who tests positive is from two to 15 days after the diagnosis.

As for whether the total number of this year’s reported human cases in Nevada would climb from the current total of 16 toward last year’s 44, Uccelli said she does not know whether that trend can be expected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 20 percent of people bitten by a mosquito with the virus will develop any illness at all. Common symptoms include headache, fever, fatigue and body aches.

Only one in 150 people who come in contact with West Nile develop the more serious form of the virus – West Nile encephalitis and meningitis.

Despite the less-than-1-percent chance that a person can develop a more serious form of West Nile, Nevada State Health Officer Bradford Lee said he would like to caution people that the virus is still active and seems to be picking up steam in Nevada.