Carson City Health and Human Services (CCHHS) and Douglas County Mosquito Abatement (DCMA) are reporting the first human case of West Nile virus in the Carson City-Douglas County area for 2016. The 65+-year-old individual confirmed to have West Nile Virus had the more serious form of the illness, which can impact the brain and surrounding tissues.
West Nile virus is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes, which acquire 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 flu-like 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.
Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. If you are experiencing this type of illness, it is important to seek medical treatment.
The most effective way to avoid West Nile virus disease is to prevent mosquito bites.