For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021
Reno, Nev. Sept. 17, 2019 - A Washoe County resident has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), becoming the first human case in 2019 in Washoe County.
Where the resident became exposed to WNV has not been determined. The person had been fishing along the Truckee River and at the Sparks Marina, but also in Fallon. Local exposure, however, cannot be ruled out.
The Health District’s Vector-Borne Disease Program (VBDP) confirmed WNV in mosquito samples in July and August that were collected in the areas of Longley Lane and South Rock Boulevard, Hidden Valley and Rosewood Lakes.
“Our first confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in 2019 should serve as a reminder to all residents and visitors to Washoe County to take precautions to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitos," said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick.
WNV is most commonly spread through mosquito bites. Eight out of 10 people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms; however, in some cases a severe illness and infection can be fatal. Minor symptoms include headache, body ache, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. More severe symptoms, which is the case for one in 150 infected, include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, convulsions, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.
The Health District’s strategy to help prevent the spread of WNV includes aerial abatement efforts as well as fogging and storm drain treatment, but the most important way to avoid WNV is taking personal action, Dick said.
Prevention tips include:
- Wear proper clothing and repellent if going outdoors in the early mornings and evenings
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET. DEET can be used safely on infants 2 months of age and older
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out
- Clear standing water from around homes, including small puddles, pools, planters, as well as plant saucers and pet bowls
- Vaccinate horses for WNV
- Additional prevention tips are available on the CDC Prevent Mosquito Bites webpage
The Health District is taking additional mosquito abatement actions in in the outdoor areas the person visited.
The Health District has performed five helicopter larvidicing applications in Washoe County in 2019 with the final application scheduled for this month.
More information on WNV and the Health District’s Vector-Borne Disease Prevention Program can be found here or by calling 775-326-2434.
The Washoe County Health District has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. To learn more, visit https://www.washoecounty.us/health/