Mosquitoes & West Nile
Nevada weather is a wonderful, eclectic force. We have had lots of rain this summer and that can produce a variety of wildlife that may not normally be abundant. In this instance, I’m talking about the lowly mosquito. I have lived in Hawthorne for 15 years and can count on one hand the number of times I have had mosquito bites. This year is exceptional for above-average rain which causes an excess of standing water in dry creek beds, tire tracks in roads, abandoned tires, and hundreds of other places.
Along with annoying itchy bites, mosquitos can leave you with one of several mosquito-borne diseases. Diseases that are spread to people by mosquitoes include Zika virus, Chikungunya virus, Dengue, Malaria, and West Nile virus. Most of these are exotic and unlikely to be spread by our local mosquitoes. West Nile is the one that we are going to talk about.
West Nile virus is found is all 48 contiguous states.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms, (8 of 10).
Some (1 of 150) people infected with West Nile Virus develop severe illness. People (1 in 50) over the age of 60 and with chronic medical conditions (diabetes, cancer, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, or organ transplants) are at greater risk of developing illness that affects the central nervous system, encephalitis, (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord).
If you think you or a loved one may have West Nile Virus disease, talk with your healthcare provider. Your provider will take a history of possible exposure to mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus, signs and symptoms of the disease and order blood or spinal fluid testing.
Recovery may take several weeks or months and some central nervous system effects may be permanent.
About 1 of 10 people who develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system die.
There is no vaccine or specific medications for West Nile Virus infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses.
All of this information and much more can be found on the CDC web site at: https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/
If you find that you have Mosquitoes in the area, burning a Citronella coil or candle can cause them to leave the area. Blocking out the Mosquitoes from your outdoor sitting areas is also effective. You can purchase hanging screens or seal in porches to keep the pests out.
Emptying any standing water around your property will help reduce their numbers. These will include buckets that’ve been filled with water from a rainy day or bird baths that haven’t had their water exchanged. Mosquitoes reproduce by laying their larvae in this water and eventually they become Mosquitoes in the area