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Health district work to control West Nile Virus outbreak

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Updated: 10/03/2012 7:01 pm
One local death has been reported as linked to the West Nile Virus. Now there is an effort to get the mosquito population under control here at home. News 3's Sandra Gonzalez joins us live from the news room with more information on what is being done.

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Officials continue attacking mosquito growth in Clark County, by setting more traps and pouring mosquito fish into stagnant washes. This follows yesterday’s announcement of 5 total West Nile cases in Southern Nevada, including a 75 year old woman who contracted the disease last month. She has since died.

The Southern Nevada Health District says even mosquitoes have been found positive for West Nile in the North West part of the region, all people in the valley should be cautious about being bitten by mosquitoes.

“It is all across the valley so no matter where you are, where you live in the valley it is possible to be exposed so we want to emphasize that everyone should take precautions,” said Devin Barrett of the Southern Nevada Health District.

Donna Bayne was upset to learn about the woman who died. She says she is close to that age and in lives in the zip code where West Nile was discovered. That’s why she’s being careful to avoid being outside during mosquito feeding times.

“I mow my yard in the middle of the day when they're not out so much, not in the early evening or in the morning, so I try to keep away from them and stay in as much as possible,” Bayne said.

Other common sense prevention tips is making sure there are no buckets or containers of standing water around your property, and to wear insect repellant containing DEET especially if you are out during dawn or dusk.

Another tough issue with West Nile is sometimes it mimics flu symptoms, and tends to attack those over the age of 50 who tend to have weaker immune systems.

“The symptoms are very non-specific. common symptoms are fever, headache, what's called malaise, which means the general not feeling well , achy week kind of thing, so it's very non-specific,” Barrett said.

The Health District says by the time it reaches a serious level, that’s when doctors test for West Nile. Usually symptoms like meningitis surface.

Last year there were 16 cases of West Nile Virus in Nevada, 11 in Clark County. There is no cure for West Nile Virus.

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