West Nile Virus cases increase in Washoe County
Health District confirms first human death

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021

RENO, NV - Over 60 mosquito tests have returned positive for West Nile Virus in Washoe County and the first human death has been recorded in Washoe County due to the virus. The virus also has been found in five other humans, several birds and one horse in the district. Health officials advise that increased insecticide fogging will occur throughout the county in the areas and neighborhoods where the virus has been detected. Additionally, the Health District will be conducting a fourth round of helicopter larvicide applications in late September.

"The increase in positive collections was expected," said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick, "but a human casualty is never easy to accept, so our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the deceased. We'll never know exactly how many illnesses our abatement activities will prevent, but if it prevents even one case of West Nile Virus and the extreme discomfort and cost associated with it, we feel it is worth our efforts." Dick reminds every one that even with public health intervention, people should take personal steps to prevent mosquitos from hatching and biting.

  • Wear proper clothing and repellent if going outdoors when mosquitos are active, especially in the early morning and evening.
  • Use repellants containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 which are the best when used according to label instructions.
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitos out. Repair or replace screens with tears or holes.
  • Clear standing water and items around homes that can be potential mosquito breeding-grounds, including small puddles, pools, planters, children's sandboxes, wagons or toys, underneath and around faucets, as well as plant saucers and pet bowls.
  • Vaccinate your horses for WNV.

The Washoe County Health District's Communicable Disease Program investigates all reported cases of diseases like WNV. Healthcare providers should consider a WNV infection as a diagnosis among patients who are ill and have recently experienced mosquito bites. Symptoms may include fever, headache, body ache, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Those with a more severe infection may experience high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and death. In humans, the virus has an incubation period of three to ten days.

Residents may report mosquito activity to the Health District at 785-4599 or 328-2434. More information on WNV and the Washoe County Health District's Vector-Borne Disease Prevention Program can be found at

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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 »