Las Vegas Sun

December 22, 2014

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Year’s first case of West Nile reported in Clark County

Image

Steve Marcus

Birds are shown in the Flamingo Wash Wednesday June 9, 2010. Birds can carry the West Nile Virus and mosquitos that bite infected birds can transfer the virus to humans. The Southern Nevada Health District conducts “mosquito surveillance” - they set mosquito traps throughout the valley, collect mosquitoes, freeze them, sort them, and then send them to Reno on dry ice for further testing. In 2008, they tested almost 16,000 mosquitoes.

The first human case of West Nile virus in Clark County this year has been identified, the Southern Nevada Health District announced today.

Officials said a man over the age of 50 had been infected with a serious form of the illness. Mosquitoes have tested positive for carrying the virus in these Clark County ZIP codes: 89014, 89120, 89123, 89131, 89134, 89143, 89144, 89145 and 89146.

About 10 people are infected with the virus each year in Clark County, according to the district's website. Nine human cases of the virus were reported last year. The virus is spread through bites from mosquitoes that have fed on infected birds.

Officials say the best way to prevent infection is to avoid mosquitoes altogether. Wearing insect repellent — officials recommend DEET — and long sleeves and pants while outside are effective methods.

West Nile-carrying mosquitoes and human infections first appeared in Clark County in 2004, according to officials, and have been here every year since except for 2010.

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