Mosquitoes in Clark County test positive for West Nile Virus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 18, 2020

LAS VEGAS – Mosquitoes that tested positive as part of the Southern Nevada Health District Mosquito Surveillance Program’s trapping activities mark the first appearance of West Nile virus in Clark County this season. The mosquitoes were trapped in the 89120 ZIP code.

The detection of West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes serves as a reminder to the public to protect themselves from mosquitoes that can transmit diseases such as St. Louis Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, and Zika. The Health District urges the community to “Fight the Bite” through its prevention campaign. Steps include:

Eliminate standing water around your home, including non-circulating ponds, “green” swimming pools, and accumulated sprinkler run-off, which support mosquito breeding. Tip and toss planters, buckets, tires, and items where water may accumulate.

Prevent mosquito bites by using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or 2-undecanone. Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to reduce mosquito exposure when outdoors.

Report mosquito activity to the Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance Program at (702) 759-1633.

“We realize people may be spending more time at home and outdoors in response to the ongoing pandemic,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, Acting Chief Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “People can still enjoy outdoor activities as long as they take the same precautions against mosquitoes that we urge each year,” said Dr. Leguen.

West Nile virus is spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes that have acquired the virus by feeding on infected birds. The illness is not spread person to person. Many people with the virus will have no symptoms or very mild clinical symptoms of illness. Mild symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back. In some cases, the virus can cause severe neurologic illness and even death.

Last season, the Health District reported 34 neuroinvasive West Nile virus cases, nine non-neuroinvasive cases, and two deaths in Clark County residents. In 2019, the Mosquito Surveillance staff set 2,752 traps throughout Clark County. A total of 43,219 mosquitoes, representing 2,262 mosquito pools, were submitted to the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory for testing. During the season, 268 mosquito submission pools tested positive for West Nile virus and 30 tested positive for St. Louis Encephalitis. A full report of the 2019 surveillance season is available on the Health District website.

Weekly arbovirus updates will be available on the Health District’s website at www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/programs/mosquito-surveillance/weekly-arbovirus-update/. More information about West Nile virus and the Health District’s Mosquito Surveillance program is available at www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/programs/mosquito-surveillance/.

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Access information about the Southern Nevada Health District on its website: www.SNHD.info. Follow the Health District on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SouthernNevadaHealthDistrict, YouTube: www.youtube.com/SNHealthDistrict, Twitter: www.twitter.com/SNHDinfo, and Instagram: www.instagram.com/southernnevadahealthdistrict/. The Health District is available in Spanish on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TuSNHD.  Additional information and data can be accessed through the Healthy Southern Nevada website: www.HealthySouthernNevada.org.