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Washoe resident tests positive for West Nile Virus; abatement efforts continue


Mosquito, West Nile Virus. U.S. Army Image.
Image: U.S. Army

A Washoe County resident has tested positive for West Nile virus, becoming the first local human case in 2019, county officials announced Tuesday.

According to the Washoe County Health District, the infected person had been fishing along the Truckee River, at Sparks Marina Park, and in Fallon. It’s not known exactly where the unnamed individual contracted the virus.

West Nile virus is a single-strand ribonucleic acid virus that causes West Nile fever. It is mostly transmitted by infected mosquitos, which often obtain it by feeding on infected birds.

Washoe County’s Vector-Borne Disease Program confirmed West Nile in mosquito samples in July and August that were collected in the areas of Longley Lane and South Rock Boulevard, Hidden Valley, and Rosewood Lakes.

“Our first confirmed human case of West Nile Virus in 2019 should serve as a reminder to all residents and visitors to Washoe County to take precautions to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitos,” said district health officer Kevin Dick.

The Health District conducts aerial abatement efforts, as well as fogging and storm drain treatment, but the most important way to avoid West Nile is by taking personal action, according to the district.

Five larvidicing applications via helicopter have been performed in Washoe County since April and the sixth and final application is scheduled for this month, according to health officials.

Examples on how to keep oneself safe are as follows:

  • Wear protective clothing and repellent if going outdoors in the early mornings and evenings.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Clear standing water from around homes, including small puddles, pools, planters, as well as plant saucers and pet bowls.
  • Vaccinate horses.

Eight out of 10 people infected with West Nile do not develop symptoms. In some cases a severe illness and infection can be fatal. Minor symptoms include headache, body ache, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

More severe symptoms, which is the case for one in 150 infected, include high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, convulsions, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, according to information provided by the health district.


More information on West Nile and the county’s disease program, call 775-326-2434 or visit


Carla O'Day
Carla O'Day
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.