Health officials believe West Nile death is first recorded in Washoe County

Health officials believe Sunday's West Nile death may have been the first recorded such death in Washoe County.

Health officials believe the older man who died from West Nile on Sunday may have been the county's first ever recorded West Nile death.

Washoe County epidemiology director Dr. Todd Randall said he could not find another recorded West Nile death.

We may have never had one.

Spokesperson Phil Ulibarri said in a text that, as far as he can tell, it's the first such death.

Despite the fact that officials have identified over 60 mosquitoes which were tested positive for West Nile virus, they stressed there's no need to panic given how rarely the virus becomes fatal.

According to officials, 70-80 percent of people who contract the virus won't have symptoms at all.

Just one in 100 people who get West Nile will come down with the more serious neuroinvasive form, and of that group, about 10 percent die, officials said.

Older people and people who have weaker immune systems are more vulnerable.

The health district has done three rounds of mosquito abatement this season, and is planning another round in September.

Health officials advise that symptoms of West Nile could include fever, headache, body ache, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.

Those with a more severe infection could also 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 10 days.

The Washoe County Health District has offered the following tips for preventing the spread:

  • 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.

Local residents can report mosquito activity to the Health District at 785-4599 or 328-2434. You can also find more information on the Washoe County website.

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