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West Nile virus found in three area mosquitoes

The first instances of West Nile virus of the season were found in mosquitoes that had been captured within Boulder City’s ZIP code, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

“The health district has a pretty robust surveillance program,” said Vivek Raman, an environmental health supervisor for the district.

Raman said the program places traps throughout the region, and this year 812 have been set between Laughlin and Mesquite. In those traps, three mosquitoes, all of which were from Boulder City, tested positive for West Nile virus.

He said West Nile virus is common in this time of year and has been found in mosquitoes every year except 2010.

According to the health district, the virus is commonly spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes that have acquired the virus by feeding on infected birds. Many people with the virus will have no symptoms or very mild ones. Those symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. In some cases, the virus can cause severe neurologic illness and even death.

In April, a woman in Southern Nevada was reported to have West Nile virus. She has recovered, and Raman said her illness did not come from the three mosquitoes.

“It was completely different mosquitoes,” he said.

To prevent contracting West Nile virus, Raman said people should check to see if there is any standing water on their property. If there is, they should get rid of it so mosquitoes do not breed there. Doors and windows should be screened to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside, and people should wear repellent and long-sleeve shirts and pants to minimize the area where they can be bitten.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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