The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting its first human case of West Nile virus in Southern Nevada in 2016. The individual, a female over the age of 50, was hospitalized with the more serious neuroinvasive form of the illness and has since been released. The Health District will not provide additional information regarding this individual. There was one reported West Nile case in 2015.
The Vector Surveillance Program has identified West Nile-positive mosquitoes in the 89027, 89032, and 89117 ZIP codes in 2016. Additionally, a horse in the 89021 ZIP code has tested positive for West Nile virus. Horses, like people, are susceptible to the virus through the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile positive mosquitoes have been identified throughout Clark County each year since 2004.
“A confirmed case of West Nile virus in a Southern Nevada resident is an important reminder to everyone to take preventive measures against mosquito bites whether they are at home or traveling,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Health District. “Everyone can take simple steps to eliminate mosquito breeding sources around the home to protect themselves and their families.”
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.