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West Nile virus confirmed in Washoe County

SPANISH SPRINGS, Nev. -- The Washoe County Health District has confirmed that mosquitos in a small pool of water in the Spanish Springs/Kiley Ranch area tested positive for West Nile Virus. It is the first positive identification of West Nile in Washoe County in 2014.

According to a press release, the Health District monitors for mosquitos carrying diseases, and in early June, confirmed that St. Louise Encephalitis had been identified in the Sun Valley area. But until Wednesday, it had been the only sign of any virus present in the local mosquito population.

"We should not be surprised to see West Nile Virus in the area," said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. "According to our Vector Borne Disease Prevention Program staff, increased standing water in the area due to the recent rains over the last month has created a prime habitat for the mosquitos that can carry transmittable disease."

Dick added that West Nile usually surfaces here in northern Nevada this time of year and that this is a reminder to all of us that we need to take precautions to keep the mosquitos at bay, and bites to a minimum.

Dick stresses that to reduce contact with mosquitos and mosquito bites, people should remember to clear standing water from around their homes. "Any area can become a problem and a potential breeding-ground, including small puddles, pools, planters, childrens sandboxes, wagons or toys, underneath and around faucets, as well as plant saucers and pet bowls. Anything that can hold even a capful of water can give mosquitos the space they need to survive."

Some additional precautionary mosquito facts include:
  • Mosquitoes bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear proper clothing and repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535, according to label instructions. Repellents keep the mosquitoes from biting you
  • DEET can be used safely on infants and children 2 months of age and older
  • Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out
  • Repair or replace screens with tears or holes
  • Vaccinate your horses for WN
Due to the WNV identification, the Health District will be increasing mosquito surveillance and conducting controlled early-morning fogging in the Henry Orr Parkway, Turnberry Drive and Vista del Rancho area, beginning Thursday at 5:30 a.m.

Residents may report night-time mosquito activity to the District Health Department at 328-2434. For more information on West Nile Virus, click here.