Mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus in Reno

The West Nile Virus is no joke, and is a serious health risk, even in Nevada. As a homeowner, understanding your risks from how this virus spreads and how to prevent infection from it will keep you healthy. Thankfully, a couple of simple, easy steps will reduce your risk and keep you and your family protected!

What is West Nile Virus?

According to the CDC, the West Nile Virus is a flavivirus that originated in eastern Africa. Although flaviviruses are most commonly found in birds, they can jump from infected birds to mosquitoes, and can infect humans and most mammals. It has become the leading cause of mosquito-borne illness in the United States. Typically, most cases originate during spring, summer, and fall when mosquitoes are the most prevalent.

How Do You Get the West Nile Virus?

Animals and people most commonly contract the West Nile Virus after being bitten by a mosquito that has previously bitten an infected bird or been in water contaminated by an infected bird. Unlike seasonal influenza flu viruses or the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, it does not spread via airborne droplets or through contact with surfaces contaminated by infected humans. Additionally, it does not spread by handling or eating infected birds, unless a contaminated bird pecks and punctures skin.

What Are the Symptoms?

Perhaps recent coverage of the West Nile Virus here in Nevada has led you to worry about mosquito bites? Bites from infected mosquitos usually appear to be similar to bites from non-infected mosquitoes. However, keep an eye out for some easy-to-spot warning signs if you were bitten by a mosquito: ve been exposed to an area with a lot of mosquitoes and suspect you may have been exposed.

Common Symptoms

These common West Nile Virus symptoms were experienced by roughly a quarter of those known to be infected:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Body Aches
  • Skin Rash
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes

If you suspect that you may be experiencing any of these symptoms as a result of possible exposure to the West Nile Virus, please go get checked by a doctor right away. That being said, the West Nile Virus can become life-threatening. In about 1 out of 150 cases, it leads to serious or fatal illness.

Severe Major Symptoms

In the somewhat uncommon case (approximately a 1 in 150 chance) of a severe infection, the following symptoms may include:

  • Paralysis
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Vision Loss

If you suspect that you may be experiencing any of these symptoms as a result of possible exposure to this virus, please go get tested by a doctor right away.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Taking anti-mosquito precautions to avoid contact with them and the West Nile Virus is key in keeping you and your family safe! Here are some tips from us:

Wear Bug Spray

EPA-approved insect repellents are available at stores near you, and are great tools for keeping mosquitoes away. They have been tested and are proven safe and effective for use on adults and children. A good bug spray will typically have an active ingredient such as DEET, IR3535, or Picaridin. Of course, always apply the bug spray following the package’s directions to maximize its effectiveness!

Exercise Caution in Mosquito-Prone Areas

If you are planning to vacation, camp, or recreate in or near a lake or a marshy or mosquito-prone area, or if you have mosquitoes in or near your backyard, simply being cautious and risk-aware are great steps to safe recreation. Have an approved bug spray handy, and keep an eye out for mosquitoes when outdoors.

Cover your Arms, Torso, and Legs When Outside

Nevada’s warm weather may tempt sportsmen and women to bare skin, but that is not safe when in mosquito-prone areas. When sporting in mosquito-prone wetlands, wearing long pants and long-sleeve shirts minimizes exposed skin and keeps mosquitoes from biting you. This is especially important for small children who cannot use bug spray.

Additionally, pretreating your sportswear clothing with Permethrin, an insecticide specifically designed for application to clothing, will offer you significantly improved anti-mosquito protection.

Keep Mosquitoes Away

Simple steps like pool aeration and standing water source elimination can often reduce mosquito populations on your property. Washoe County may penalize homeowners with active mosquito infestations on their property. To avoid these possible county penalties, give us a call if you have mosquitoes on your property and are unsure where they are coming from. We are your go-to experts at mosquito source location and extermination!

Mosquitos are always a pain, but they increase your risk of contracting numerous diseases. Washoe County considers them to be a public health hazard. While there are other mosquito-carried blood-borne diseases, the mosquito-spread West Nile Virus will always be a serious risk.

Need more mosquito peace of mind? Request a free quote below for our mosquito control services today, so you can comfortably enjoy your outdoors!