Las Vegas Sun

July 16, 2018

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Mosquitoes with West Nile virus found in valley


James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AP

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host.

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus have been found in the Las Vegas Valley, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

The mosquitoes were found in the southeast valley ZIP codes 89011 and 89110 and in the central valley ZIP code 89146, officials said.

The discovery was made as the district’s surveillance program was testing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes for the Zika virus. The insects tested negative for Zika but positive for West Nile.

“It has never been more important for residents to take steps to eliminate mosquito breeding sources and to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Joe Iser, chief health officer for the district. “Community members can do their part by ensuring their homes are free of standing water, using insect repellent appropriately, and reporting mosquito activity to our agency.”

Mosquitoes get West Nile virus by feeding on infected birds and then can be passed to people. The illness is not spread from person to person, however, and many people with the virus will show few, if any, symptoms, officials said.

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 illness or even death.

The Health District offers these tips for mosquito control and preventing bites:

• Check your yard weekly for water-filled containers or after every use of sprinklers or rain.

• Throw away or recycle water-holding containers that are not needed.

• If empty containers or large objects, such as boats or old appliances must be stored, they should be covered, turned over or placed under a roof that does not allow them to fill with water.

• Clean and scrub bird baths and pet-watering dishes weekly and dump the water from overflow dishes under potted plants and flower pots.

• Fill tree holes and other cavities around plants with sand or soil.

• Eliminate areas of standing water around homes, including noncirculating ponds, “green” swimming pools and accumulated sprinkler runoff, which support mosquito breeding.

• Check for hidden bodies of water such as wells, septic tanks, manholes, clogged drains, etc.

• Call the Health District to report mosquitoes.

Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent. Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.

• Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.

• Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth or cut or irritated skin. Adults should spray insect repellent onto their hands and then apply to a child’s face.

• Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.

• Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts to reduce mosquito exposure when outdoors.

• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens without tears or holes.

• If you are outdoors in a mosquito-infested area, place mosquito netting over infant carriers.

• Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in a structure without screens.

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