A released Saturday, 7th September 2019 report from the Southern Nevada Health District has seen numbers of recorded West Nile Virus cases on the rise with 39 of the cases reported in Clark County. The figure depicts an increase of three more cases from the data taken the previous week which recorded 36 West Nile Virus cases.
31 neuroinvasive cases
From the 39 new cases reported, 31 of them were very severe and classified neuroinvasive such as West Nile meningitis (inflammation of membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain), West Nile encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and West Nile poliomyelitis which have symptoms such as high fever, coma, headache, tremors, paralysis, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, convulsions, disorientation, and stupor. The other 8 cases were not as severe.
Mosquitoes have been identified as the carriers of West Nile virus whereby after feeding on an infected bird, they go-ahead to spread the virus to humans or other mammals through a bite. However, the virus is not spread from one person to another.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is spread to people from summer through fall which is generally during the mosquito season. From the statistics carried out, it is reported that out of ten (10) infected people, eight (8) people may develop no symptoms at all, out of five (5) infected people, one (1) person is likely to develop certain symptoms like fever, rash, diarrhea and out of every 150 infected people, one (1) person is likely to develop serious illnesses that may be fatal. In conclusion, most of the infected persons may not feel sick at all.
43 zip codes, according to the Southern Nevada Health District report, are stated to have West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes which is an increase from the 39 zip codes reported in August. The August report also saw 19% of the mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus which was a massive increase from the mosquitoes that were tested in the last season where less than 0.1% tested positive.
The increase in the number of cases and the virus-carrying mosquitoes prompted the SNHD to declare the virus an outbreak. The cases continue to signify the highest count since the virus was detected in Silver State in the year 2004.
SNHD, chief health officer, Dr. Joe Iser, termed the outbreak as a ‘serious health concern’ and with West Nile virus preventable, he advised the state residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites by ensuring that whenever they are outdoors they should use repellents, wear light-colored pants and long-sleeved shirts and ensure that no standing water is around their homes which act as breeding homes for the mosquitoes. This includes ‘green’ swimming pools, accumulated sprinkler runoff and non-circulating ponds.
A point to note is that there is no medication or vaccine to prevent the virus.
The advisable repellents should be registered under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and should contain IR3535, DEET, OLE (Oil of Lemon eucalyptus) Picaridin or 2-undecanone.