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Washoe County reports first confirmed Zika case
Symptoms consistent with Zika virus developed after returning from travel to El Salvador.

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021

RENO, NV - A female adult with recent travel history to a Zika-affected country is the first confirmed Zika case in Washoe County according to health officials.  The woman developed symptoms consistent with Zika virus after returning from travel to El Salvador. Those symptoms included joint pain, body ache, fever, conjunctivitis, chills, abdominal pain, headache and rash.  Her symptoms resolved within a week. The woman is one of twelve individuals in Washoe County who have been tested in recent weeks. No other positive results have been received to date.

"We will continue to monitor the lab tests we have submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. "We know that the general public is concerned about the rise in the number of Zika cases, so this serves as a reminder that people going to Zika-affected countries, particularly those that are pregnant or intending to become pregnant, should take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitos while traveling." Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus and has been linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had Zika virus while pregnant.

Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). To date, Zika has not been spread by mosquitos in the continental United States. However, lab tests have confirmed Zika virus in travelers returning to the United States from areas with Zika. Zika virus can also be spread during sex by a man infected with Zika to his partners. Some non-travelers in the United States have become infected with Zika through sex with a traveler.

According to local health officials, the mosquitos known to carry Zika virus are not indigenous to our area. While the mosquito may find its way to northern Nevada, it is not known whether the insect can survive in our climate. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitos is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitos outside.
  • Treat your clothing and gear with DEET or permethrin or buy pre-treated items.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents 
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.

To learn more, please visit CDC's Zika virus page at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html.

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About Washoe County Health District: The Washoe County District Board of Health, through the Washoe County Health District, has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Washoe County, Nevada. Its mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Washoe County through health promotion, disease prevention, public health emergency preparedness, and environmental services. The Board of Health is composed of seven members, including two representatives each from Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County, and a physician licensed to practice medicine in Nevada.

Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »