As you find yourself spending more time outdoors – whether it’s enjoying time with family, appreciating the many recreational activities available in Southern Nevada, participating in an outdoor hobby such as gardening, or working – it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites and the diseases that can potentially be transmitted by them.
There are many people living in Southern Nevada who will claim to have never been bitten by a mosquito, and people new to the Las Vegas Valley who may think that due to our dry climate mosquitoes are not an issue.
Unfortunately, we do have mosquitoes in Nevada, and these mosquitoes are known to carry the viruses that cause West Nile virus and St. Louis Encephalitis. West Nile virus cases are reported most often – and while the majority of people will experience mild or even no symptoms at all, some people will get the more serious form of the illness. West Nile encephalitis can cause severe neurological symptoms and can have a long-term or even permanent impact on a person’s health.
In addition to the mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile virus and St. Louis Encephalitis, the Health District identified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Clark County last summer. This is the species that can spread diseases like Zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya. To date, no mosquitoes have tested positive for the Zika virus. Travel-associated cases and one reported case that was transmitted through sexual contact have been reported in Clark County. A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. Zika can cause microcephaly, other severe fetal brain defects, and a full range of health problems that continue to be studied.
To protect themselves this summer and throughout mosquito season, the Health District reminds residents to avoid mosquito bites by taking these simple steps:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or 2-undecanone.
- Wear long sleeve shirts and pants to reduce mosquito exposure when outdoors.
- Protecting your home by eliminating standing water and potential breeding sources.
- Pregnant women or couples who are trying to become pregnant should not travel to areas where Zika transmission is ongoing.
- All travelers should take steps to prevent mosquito bites during and after their trip.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-information for additional travel information.
Unlike the mosquitoes we usually see in Southern Nevada, mosquitoes that spread Zika are more aggressive during daytime hours and are known to live in homes. Like other mosquitoes, they can breed in standing water.
If you are experiencing mosquito activity around your residence, especially daytime biting mosquitoes, please contact our Mosquito Surveillance Program at (702) 759-1633. For updated information on mosquito activity in Southern Nevada and additional prevention information, go to the Health District’s website at www.snhd.info/mosquito-control.
Kick off this summer season ready to Fight the Bite!