The Washoe County Health District says mosquitoes in the South Meadows area have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. 

Mosquito samples from the Damonte Ranch and Hidden Meadows areas tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV). 

These are the first positive tests in Washoe County in 2018. When WNV identification is confirmed, the Health District increases mosquito surveillance and conducts controlled early-morning insecticide fogging in the area. Fogging is always conducted in early morning and is expected to begin Thursday, July 26, and/or Friday, July 27, to provide relief to those South Meadows neighborhoods from increased mosquito activity. 

“We expected to see West Nile Virus in the area because of the substantial moisture from our spring-time precipitation and the recent and ongoing heatwave,” said Washoe County Health District Communications Manager Phil Ulibarri. “When the weather is hot and humid it presents perfect breeding factors for mosquitoes.”  

While fogging represents increased prevention efforts by the Health District, and helicopter abatement efforts are scheduled for later this summer, Ulibarri reminds everyone that there are steps you can take personally to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that carry disease. 

Symptoms of West Nile vary, with some showing no signs at all to high fever, severe headache, fatigue or a stiff neck that can last up to several weeks. The most serious cases can lead to encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain and can be fatal.

"The fatality rate is relatively low, but even getting a mild version, it's serious in the sense that people may take weeks or months depending on age to rehabilitate," said Jim Shaffer, Coordinator with the Vector-Borne Disease Prevention Program.

Some things to remember to avoid being bitten by a mosquito as well as preventing mosquitoes from hatching are:

  • Wear proper clothing and repellent if going outdoors when mosquitoes 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 mosquitoes 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.

Residents may report mosquito activity to the Health District at 785-4599 or 328-2434. More information on WNV and the Washoe County Health District's Vector-Borne Disease Prevention Program can be found at http://bit.ly/1SCOM2g.

(Washoe County Health District contributed to this report.)